The government Wednesday launched a new roadmap for the rollout of the proposed school curriculum.
It begins with a national piloting this year that culminates in the actual implementation in January next year.
The pilot starts immediately and will cover pre-school and Standards One and Two. It will also be done in Standard Three in a few schools.
Known as competence-based curriculum (CBC), the new system, which seeks to replace the current 8-4-4, focuses on skills instead of knowledge.
It is phased as follows: two years of pre-school, six years of primary school, six years of high school, and three years of tertiary education (2-6-6-3).
In its naming system, classes will henceforth be referred to as grades rather than standards as is currently the case.
The actual implementation next year will cover pre-school up to Standard Four and move progressively up the system, with the pioneering students completing high school in 2027. In effect, 8-4-4 will continue until the last batch sits Form Four exams in 2026.
The piloting stage will involve training of all teachers, refining of the curriculum content, development of a framework for testing, and preparation of teaching and learning materials. Initially, the actual implementation was meant to start this year. However, that has been pushed forward by one year.
Launching the national piloting, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i explained that implementation of the new curriculum is being phased out to allow proper preparation and execution.
He said the piloting stage was part of the rollout of the curriculum, noting this will provide insights about its viability and areas requiring improvement, and hence better inform the actual implementation.
Dr Matiang’i made the announcement after chairing a meeting of the Curriculum Reform National Steering Committee held at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development in Nairobi.
“We are moving as planned and the activities that will take place this year are part of the rollout of the new curriculum,” he said.
“Contrary to what some may have thought, we are on track and all activities will be executed on schedule in readiness for full implementation of the curriculum,” he continued, adding that “this is a progressive change and will be done for the next decade”.
He clarified that Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams will continue until the new system runs its complete cycle.
As part of the preparation for full implementation, the government, through the National Steering Committee and KICD, will finalise a sessional paper to provide policy direction on the new changes, prepare a legal framework and present it to Parliament for debate and approval, and engage county governments on management of pre-primary education.
All this will culminate in a national conference in August to review progress on piloting and consolidate all the processes to pave way for full implementation in 2019.
Speaking during the launch, Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary-general Wilson Sossion expressed support for the revised programme, saying teachers had been worried that some steps were being circumvented in the curriculum change process, which was contrary to international best practices.
“With the clarification and revision of timelines and schedule of activities, we ask all our teachers to embrace the new curriculum and be ready for training and implementing it,” he said.
The chairman of Kenya Publishers Association, Mr Lawrence Njagi, equally expressed support of the new curriculum and acknowledged that the revised scheduled would give publishers ample time to prepare teaching and learning materials appropriately.
The chairperson of KICD, Dr Sarah Ruto, said the institute will intensify public communication and stakeholder engagement to sensitise the public and all interest groups to ensure success of the new curriculum.
For the past few weeks, Knut and independent education experts have voiced concern over how preparations for rollout of the new curriculum were being managed, with the accent being that stakeholders and key interest groups were not being adequately consulted, and that critical milestones — like preparing the sessional paper and developing a legal framework — were being side-stepped. Knut was also apprehensive of the level of teacher training and preparedness.
However, at the end of yesterday’s meeting, all the contentious issues were resolved, with Dr Matiang’i committing to robust and extensive consultation.
Among others, he challenged universities to take an active role in analysing the proposals and provide data and research knowledge to inform its implementation.