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State upbeat ahead of new curriculum rollout

Sunday December 9 2018

Education

Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang gives his remarks during the Nation Leadership Forum at the University of Nairobi on December 6, 2018. He said preparations to launch the new curriculum are continuing. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

OUMA WANZALA
By OUMA WANZALA
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Rollout of the new curriculum is on course and will begin next month, the government has assured.

Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang disclosed that the government is working with an external evaluator on the programme.

Speaking at the University of Nairobi on Thursday evening during the seventh edition of the Nation Leadership Forum, whose theme was "Repurposing Education for Growth", he said preparation for the rollout has been ongoing for several years.

“We have gone through a process preparing teachers and engaging parents and other stakeholders. We have done what we were required to do,” Dr Kipsang said.

Stakeholders expressed misgivings over the level of preparedness of teachers, students and parents for the new system that will be implemented from Grade 1 to Grade 3.

BUDGET

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But Dr Kipsang said that the government is ready to implement the competency-based curriculum. He said the government would commit more resources into the education sector to give Kenyan children quality education.

He said Sh468 billion will be set aside next year for education, up from the current Sh442 billion. “The level of investment that we have put into the education sector is fairly competitive for a country our size,” he said.

The event was addressed by Nation Media Group chief executive officer Stephen Gitagama, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development director Julius Jwan, Eva Naputuni Nyoike, a special needs education director at Acorn Special Tutorials, Dr Ann Assey, a senior lecturer Open Distance and E-Learning campus at the University of Nairobi and acting UoN Deputy Vice-chancellor academic affairs Julius Ogeng’o.

The debate that started at 7.30pm and ended at 9pm was moderated by NTV’s Smirti Vidyarthi.

DEVELOPMENT

Dr Kipsang admitted that not all schools in the country have good infrastructure, but the government is doing its best to improve the situation.

Mr Gitagama said: “Education is the most powerful tool for future development. Knowledge and communication skills are an absolute necessity.”

He disclosed that NMG will continue to support such initiatives to encourage constructive debates around issues affecting Kenyans.

Dr Jwan said teachers are ready for the new curriculum and encouraged Kenyans not to fear change.

Dr Assey said that teachers, parents and learners need to be prepared psychologically about the curriculum change.

“We can advance more if we integrate technology. Everybody wants to see Kenyan children who can compete globally,” she said.

DISABILITY

Ms Naputuni said the issue of special needs must be taken seriously in the new curriculum, including recruiting more teachers to handle learners.

Dr Kipsang said instructional materials for learners with disabilities have already been approved while Dr Jwan disclosed that all students joining teacher training colleges will undergo compulsory special needs training.

The PS said the government had realised a 1:1 student book ratio and will continue to put more resources to support infrastructure in the institutions.

He instructed school heads to ensure that allocated resources are put into proper use.