Curriculum change for a better future

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Learning is poised on becoming better, more focused on talent and less manipulative of exam and academic performance. Educationists will be meeting the public and stakeholders in 2016 for opinion on what should be done to our national learning system, under Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD). Parent representatives, teachers’ unions and members of the civil society will interrogate a curriculum review framework that forms the basis of reforms in the sector.schools It is anticipated that, a new curriculum should replace the current one by January 2018. In a document titled, “The curriculum review framework: Transforming society through curriculum reforms” the current education is reviewed as choked with too many subjects, leading to “non-mastery of foundational skills Curriculum change for a better future of literacy, numeracy and life skills”. According to the document, once the reform process is complete, primary school children would only be taught content that is appropriate for their age. It also proposes that competency-based assessment be introduced in schools where the learners’ focus will be on application of skills and knowledge in real life rather than knowing answers. Career pathways would also be introduced at secondary level in the far-reaching changes that seek to deemphasise national examinations. Assessment shall be tailored to find out whether learners have achieved the prescribed competencies but not necessarily to compare them with their colleagues. A complete curriculum reform was last done 30 years ago when the 7–4–2–3 system was dropped and the 8–4–4 system adopted. Various committees commissioned by the Government have stressed the need to reform the education system to respond to the country’s changing needs. While the 7–4– 2–3 curriculum system was geared towards employment, 8–4–4 system was supposed to focus on self-employment. The aim of the reforms then was to develop a curriculum that would help learners to gain practical skills and competences for self-reliance. That was why practical subjects such as art and craft, woodwork, home science, agriculture and music were introduced. However in 2002, a review of the curriculum was conducted and subjects reduced to lessen the workload. During the review, some subjects were dropped and others were merged, with the most affected being the practical subjects. In 2009, a comprehensive evaluation of the primary and secondary education was carried out. The findings indicated that learners at secondary level did not have adequate skills and competences to join the job market. Gaps in agricultural, entrepreneurial, innovation and creativity and Information and Communication Technology skills were identified. In 2010, the intention to reform the curriculum was expressed with the setting up of the Douglas Odhiambo task force on “Re-alignment of Education and Training to the Constitution of Kenya.” The task force was to advise on how education would be reformed in line with Vision 2030 and the Constitution of Kenya.

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