Elected leaders from northern Kenya have today asked the government to suspend the the new education curriculum known as Competency Based Curriculum. The leaders cited lack of infrastructure in the region that makes the commencement of the curriculum impossible. Wajir East legislator Rashid Kassim, who has been a vocal critic of what he says is the institutional educational inequality said ” in some classrooms there are 100 to 120 pupils and in some, multiple classes study under one roof” The MP says until such infrastructural challenges are addressed it will be impractical to continue with the new curriculum.
The new curriculum which is to replace the 8.4.4 system has come under heavy criticism across the board since its introduction. The ministry and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) were accussed of rushing the changes with little stakeholders consultation. Vocal critics like Dr Wandia Njoya say the “Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) entrenches inequality” and even KICD is not conversant with what CBC is, reason it shies away from stakeholders consultation and the textbooks mistakes fiasco. Dr Wandia who has written extensively about the education system and spoken on many forums says ” I believe that even KICD doesn’t know the monster that CBC is, that’s why it didn’t want to communicate to the public in the first place. For the same reason, that no one knows what CBC is, the textbooks had mistakes and took long to produce. And KICD didn’t have the guts to face the teachers. To this day, some trainers secretly admit that they’re still not sure what CBC is.What we are saying is that CBC ENTRENCHES inequality. Under 8-4-4, there has been inequality. But in principle, we wanted to teach all subjects to all pupils. CBC, on the other hand, justifies not teaching all subjects to all pupils. It calls that justification “talent.” And once you justify communities suffering from neglect as differently talented, you are turning their biology into a social cause. A phenomenon that we commonly refer to as racism, or its siblings sexism and tribalism.
Also, CBC reduces abilities that we should all have, whether we are educated or not, into “skills.” There is a difference. Skills suggests expertise, and measurability. That is why CBC is turning natural activities like eating or household chores into testable tasks for taking photographs and printing with a color printer.
I am so sad that even educated Kenyans cant get what is wrong with turning instinctual activities into measurables. It will prevent your children from internalizing certain things they should learn to do by instinct. They will grow up into adults who want to be graded, receive approval or even money for doing human things like being kind, like personal hygiene or cleaning up. CBC is distorting human relationships to oneself and to others.
Critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity are not part of CBC. I said that on NTV last year, when I said that the framework contradicts the claimed intentions.
“There are 3 critical elements of CBC that are contradictory” says Dr Wandia.” KICD has put pathways to restrict where children can go. How do you say you want to nurture talent, but at the same time put roadblocks at form 2?. KICD claims to care about “nurturing learners potential,” while promising to have quotas of how many can go to STEM and manual jobs, versus other more prestigious jobs. KICD claims to be preparing kids for jobs of the 21st century while claiming to want kids to learn. Like I said in 2018, telling students they learn for jobs ironically makes them not learn”.