Blog Post

20 Jun
By: root 0

SYSTEMS APPROACH TO EDUCATION REFORMS: TEACHER PREPAREDNESS

In the year 2022-2023, Grade 6 under the 2-6-6-3 Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) and those in Class 8 under the 8-4-4 system will transition concurrently to junior secondary school – Grade 7 and to Secondary School Form One, representing about a 27% increase in secondary school learning population.

The double intake will create significant requirements necessitating changes in the education sector with far-reaching effects. To this end, KEPSA Education Sector Board leaders on the 15th of June engaged experts and practitioners virtually in view of the forthcoming double intake and holistic approach to the implementation of CBC in Kenya.

KEPSA Education Sector Board Chair Dr Vincent Gaitho, called upon the private sector education players and service providers to actively take part in the identification of issues as well as propose solutions for successful implementation of the competency-based curriculum. At the same time, Ms Wairimu Njagi – Vice-Chair, KEPSA Education Sector Board (Basic) outlined the purpose of the session as a brainstorming forum on the scenario analysis and identification of proposals and recommendations on enhancing smooth transition management and for making Kenya a regional education hub.

In his opening remarks, Dr David Njengere – CEO, Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) and Advisor to the Cabinet Secretary of Education on Curriculum Matters, highlighted that Kenya started reforms of the education system and not a review in the year 2016. The new education system is aimed at inclusivity for engaging and empowering everybody and not only focusing on a fraction of learners who get the good grades as it is in 8-4-4.

The reform was informed by Kenya’s Vision 2030, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially Number 4 and the EAC resolutions on education. The reforms focus on tapping into the full potential learners, to identify and nurture their talents and not label or classify them.  It is focusing on refining the education system global education that integrates human capital development and social development. The 8-4-4 system, on the other hand, focused on human capital development and most challenges arise from the minimization of social capital development.

In reviewing the state of teacher education in the country, Ms Jane Mwangi, OGW, highlighted the high level of shortage of teachers both in primary (38054) and Secondary (58000). Currently, the ratio is 1:80 and could be worse with the upcoming double intake.  Issues of teacher capacity in relation to CBC included, the number of subjects required for applicants at the teacher training level is not consistent with the CBC. The grade requirement for entry into the teaching profession is very low which makes the teaching profession to be perceived as less serious among others.

Dr Julius Otundo – Director, Riara Institute & Head of Department, School of Education shared some of the elements of teacher preparedness that need to be considered. This includes the preparedness of teachers for learner-centred pedagogical approach, professional development of teachers, internationalization of CBC and education reforms, ensuring Kenya offers a curriculum from whose graduands can progress to any international university in the world, alignment of assessment of learning outcomes, and thematic training of teachers in relation to the CBC pathways among others.

Ms Mutheu Kasanga emphasized the need to create professional growth pathways for teachers to ensure there is no transition challenge by simply focusing on the entry-grade requirements of the teaching profession. She said teacher professional development should not be conditional on licensing of a teacher but rather on promotion. The threat to deregister a teacher for not undertaking a professional development course, she said, blocked avenues of constructive problem-solving for the teaching fraternity.

The Head Teacher of Regis School Mr Clifford Oluoch shared innovative practices in the teaching, transition and change management strategies that are being employed at Regis. This includes undertaking weekly continuous professional development of the teachers, changing of sitting arrangement from the linear Victorian class sitting arrangement to the group sitting to support collaborative learning and project-based learning, ensuring students are part of teacher assessment, engagement with parents in teaching insets, fostering a reading culture of 6 Swahili and 6 English books per student per year, value-based learning by creating a vibrant community program among others.

Other areas of discussion included the need for harmonization and alignment of regulators including the Teacher Service Commission (TSC); Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), and Commission of University Education (CUE) among others. It also emerged that there should be a whole country approach to the implementation of CBC and to put in place measures that will ensure that rural regions of the country, the underprivileged and the marginalized are not further alienated by the new system.

The meeting agreed to hold similar sessions fortnightly in the coming months to delve into other transition management elements. The outcome of the engagement will inform the private sector position paper on education reforms in the country.  The engagement will cover elements of infrastructure, assessment, technology, and financing of the sector among others.

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