Kenya has been debating about education reforms for the past decade with the accent being change from 8-4-4 to a new system to suit the needs and aspiration of a nation seeking to industrialise and join the ranks of wealthy states in the next 12 years.
Despite all its positives, the current system has mainly been discussed in the negative. Yet none is perfect.
Soon after the enactment of the current Constitution, the Education ministry set up a taskforce to review the curriculum and align it to the emerging realities necessitated by the new constitutional order as well as economic and technological advancements.
That gave rise to what is being referred to as a “competence-based curriculum”. But it was not until last year that the review drive gathered momentum.
Finally, the government on Wednesday launched the roadmap for its rollout and clarified many gray areas that had given room for speculation.
The 2-6-6-3 curriculum will now be piloted across the country this year in pre-school up to Standard Three. However, its actual implementation will start in January next year from pre-primary to Standard Four.
Critically, the piloting provides a chance to test the content of the curriculum, train the teachers, craft a framework for examining it and create guidelines for publishers to develop teaching and learning resources.
Equally significant, the ministry can now develop the sessional paper, a policy document to guide implementation and, subsequently, prepare a legal framework for debate and approval in Parliament.
All along, the concern was that, whereas Kenyans want change, it is a major undertaking that must be done systematically and progressively. All the building blocks must be laid out properly and the necessary consultations done to ensure a complete buy-in.
The government ought to mount an intensive public communication campaign to sensitise the citizens on the rollout and content of the curriculum, as well as the role of parents, communities and other interest groups.