The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has dropped its opposition to the rolling out of a new education curriculum and urged teachers to embrace it.
Secretary-general Wilson Sossion said the activities that have been lined up to ensure the smooth rolling out of the new programme have excited teachers.
“We want to urge to our teachers to interact with the new curriculum design to ensure that it is gradually implemented,” he said yesterday at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Nairobi.
Mr Sossion said the rolling out of the new curriculum is an historic moment for the education sector and no step should be missed.
He said after long discussions with the national steering committee on curriculum reforms, the union is happy with the plans and asked the government to ensure adequate funds for teacher training.
“We urge our teachers to embrace the new curriculum and our parents to also drop the anxiety they have been having over the implementation of the new curriculum,” said Mr Sossion.
The national steering committee, chaired by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, had met yesterday morning to decide on the implementation of the new curriculum. KICD presented a detailed report on the phase one pilot programme that was rolled out last year.
Among the recommendations presented to the steering committee was that the national pilot for PP1, PP2 and Grade 1 and 2 be carried out in all schools.
This will allow indepth evaluation of the curriculum to address gaps and strengthen strategies for the national rollout in 2019.
They also proposed that pilot schools continue with implementation of the new curriculum in Grade 3 for evaluation of competencies.
KICD has asked the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to spearhead continuous teacher capacity development to support effective implementation of Grade 4.
They have also proposed that the examination council finalises development of the Assessment framework for Grade 5 and also complete the Sessional Paper.
According to KICD, the syllabus was developed by a team of experts that relied on a needs assessment study conducted countrywide
Knut has been opposed to the implementation of the new curriculum, citing gaps. Among the issues that Knut had raised are lack of training for teachers, failure to engage stakeholders and lack of training materials to guide the curriculum.
On Wednesday, however, Mr Sossion said they support the programme as long as all the issues they have raised will be looked into.
Earlier, Knut had written to the ministry of Education asking for an extension of the piloting period.
The union has been arguing that the period for piloting was too short. Mr Sossion had also argued that the union was yet to receive valuation findings from external and internal auditors.
Mr Sossion had argued that implementation of the new curriculum could create a gap in the education sector because teachers were not fully prepared and learning materials were yet to be provided and tested.
He had said the 8-4-4 system was tested for four years, and it would practically be impossible to roll out the new curriculum this year.
Mr Sossion had also protested that public views were not sought and there was no paper to guide the new curriculum.
However, in a change of tone, Mr Sossion said the activities lined up this year satisfy their concerns.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (Kuppet) secretary general Akelo Misori said the new curriculum will help children to develop competency-based skills.
“Through the gradual rolling out of the programme, teachers will have enough time to be trained,” he said.
Kenya Publishers Association chairman Lawrence Njagi said they have developed books which have been approved by KICD for the use in the new curriculum. “Our books are practical, we have trained our editors and we shall be availing them to bookshops,” he said.