Education Curriculum Change Will Hurt The Poor More.
By Mohamed Haji
Few weeks ago, a section of leaders from Northern Kenya raised concerns over the new Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) introduced by the government that is replacing the 8.4.4. education system. They asked for the suspension of the CBC as the region’s schools are ill-equipped to meet the demands of the system. The region has no commensurate infrastructural capacity to take part in the curriculum. The few schools in the region have no running water and not connected to the internet as the much hyped 1-Mile rural electrification project was at best a white elephant and therefore electricity remains costly in the few places its available. Toilets are a luxury and the building of proper toilets which is another important requirement remains elusive. For a region that experiences dire lack of classroom teachers, finding trained CBC teachers is a pipe dream. It is inconceivably irrational for a government to introduce a curriculum that requires a heavy dose of infrastructural investment and go ahead to introduce it when a large chunk of the country is nowhere near ready to adopt it. Educationist from Northern Kenya have failed to raise these with parents and other stakeholders. Most are middle class wannabes and have their children in so-called private schools aiding by design or default the death of public schools and thereby further entrenching the alarming increase of inequality and underdevelopment. However, this curriculum change affects even private schools although these private establishments have a little more wiggle room and may master the economic power to maneuver around it. In the end you cannot isolate the children from their social environment hence the prudence of the these elites to up their antenna and speak more about the new changes.
The new curriculum demands that parents print their children’s assignment for assessment which is not only impractical but illogical for a region that is not even connected to the national grid and whose inhabitants can ill-afford the equipment required for this exercises. This is a government that is completely out of touch if it thinks a nomad at the border can afford to buy a printer let alone access the internet and print children assignment. This is a clear indication of a government whose policy makers have no knowledge of the socio-economic status of its policy consumers.
There was little consultation on this curriculum change and the speed at which it is implemented, not mentioning the financiers, should concern parents and all other stakeholders. Why has Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) shied away from consulting stakeholders and continue to ignore the concerns of experts who have raised glaring errors on both the competency component and the claims of equality? It is commendable to prioritize the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in a world where technology continues to shape the success or failure of a nation, however zeroing in on only STEM subjects at the expense of all other study areas is unhealthy. Despite the initial intentions of the proponent of CBC, the skewed focus may engender inequality and underdevelopment of critical and analytical skills.
The government should reconsider the introduction of the curriculum and go back to the drawing board. It ought to carry the whole country with it or it risks further marginalizing a great majority of its citizenry. This is bound to damage children education and contrary to the good intentions of the curriculum, could encourage toxic childhood that will affect the rest of their lives and the future stability of their nation.