Implementation of the proposed curriculum that promises a far-reaching shift in the way learners are taught will be gradual, to ensure it is well understood.
The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) chairperson, Dr. Sara Ruto sought to allay fears that the competence based curriculum is being undertaken in a rush.
The proposed 2-6-3-3 curriculum, she said, is tailor made to respond to the learners’ unique needs given their various growth and development stages.
“It is very important that what is put in the curriculum aligns with developmental stages of our children, otherwise we shall lose them,” Dr Ruto said.
She downplayed concerns that implementation of the new curriculum is being fast tracked before the right structures are put in place to ensure a smooth take off.
“In fact, we are moving at the slowest pace. The curriculum reforms started in earnest two years ago. Any further delay will mean, nothing will ever happen,” Dr Ruto said yesterday (Tuesday), in Nairobi.
Dr Ruto said there is nothing wrong with the implementation process as it was based on a national needs assessment report and global practices.
“This is the first time in the country’s history of curriculum development that we are following all the key steps. The current 8-4-4 system of education was not piloted,” Dr Ruto said.
Teachers unions have said that though they supported the curriculum reforms, the government should not hasten its implementation before comprehensive consultations.
Close to 5,000 teachers selected for the pilot from 470 schools have been taken through phase one and two of the trainings and will also continue accessing online trainings.
“The backbone rests in carving out a new teacher. A teacher who is a facilitator of learning. One who is a nurturer of character rather than just a transmitter of content,” Dr Ruto said.
The curriculum that will be implemented at various levels starting with the early years- Pre-primary 1 and 2, Grade 1, 2 and 3, emphasizes on a learners talents and abilities to undertake various assignments, as opposed to just cramming to pass examinations.
In the early years, teachers are expected to focus more on listening and speaking skills as opposed to writing to ensure the children are not lost due to unnecessarily heavy work load.
”In the early years, there is a role for everybody to build the learners’ literacy skills. Writing is like running and must come later,” Dr Ruto said.
“Don’t hurry the child to run before he walks. Listening and speaking skills are vital building blocks for reading and writing.”
She appeals to parents not to relegate their duties to teachers but, help their children to go through listening, speaking, reading and writing, without being pushed to over the learning stages.
Dr Ruto further said including so many subjects in the curriculum is not the best way to inculcate the right attitudes amongst the learners, but, adopting a pro-active way of teaching.
“One requires a mental shift. This will not come from parents demanding to see magical things in their children. Learning is not measured by the amount of homework, but skills acquired,” she said.