The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will support implementation of the new curriculum by ensuring that all teachers are adequately inducted ahead of the roll out next month.
TSC Secretary/Chief Executive Nancy Macharia said head teachers will play a lead role in overseeing its implementation, as the managers of their institutions.
“Our school curriculum has been under review for some time now. In a matter of months, a new curriculum will be rolled out,” she said during the 13th Kenya Primary Schools Head teachers Association (KEPSHA) in Mombasa.
The new curriculum, she said, is intended to make schooling more functional by equipping learners with skills to help them navigate through life.
Dr Macharia observed that the conference was important as it was coming against the backdrop of major reforms in the education sector.
Uncertainty over the fate of national examinations saw many teachers seek clarification on the matter, as some sought to know how learners will be assessed without compromising on quality.
Senior Deputy Director-Curriculum and Research services Jacquiline Onyango assured the teachers that the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations will not be scrapped as from next year when the new curriculum is rolled out, for early years learners.
This is because the 8-4-4 system of education is being phased off gradually staring with learners in nursery up to standard three, referred to as Pre-Primary one and two and Grade one to three in the new curriculum.
The national examinations will eventually be administered differently with a special focus on continuous assessment of learners, according to the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).
“We need to begin schooling ourselves to move away from over reliance on national examinations that categorise learners into failures and those who have succeeded, irrespective of the learners’ other abilities and talents,” Ms Onyango said.
The competence based curriculum complies with the Basic Education Act, which emphasizes on compulsory basic education that requires the learners go to school up to Form four, uninterrupted.
“The Basic Education Curriculum Framework (BECF) is hinged on what the child can do and not what they only talk about or see,” Ms Onyango said during a panel discussion on the place of Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) in the curriculum.
This is well tested through formative assessment as opposed to one off national examinations where learners just cram to reproduce facts, to pass examinations and those who fail end up with limited options.
Mrs Onyango said although curriculum development remains a national function, the institute is working with the two levels of government to ensure the new system of education is well understood.
“Education is meant to serve a purpose and the curriculum plays a critical role in that context. As we implement the curriculum, we must be take care of any gaps to guarantee quality education,” she said.
Mr Onyango said besides promoting parental engagement in the education of their children, other education programs have been mainstreamed in the new curriculum to avoid duplication and overloading the learners.
KEPSHA National Chairman Shem Ndolo and Secretary David Mavuta said the new curriculum is good but the government must implement it with caution to safeguard against challenges that eroded the gains of the current system.
“The new curriculum is fantastic and we want to see it implemented. But, the level of preparedness is our fear. We don’t want it to be rushed as it happened with the 8-4-4,” Mr Mavuta said.
Mr Ndolo said teachers have the knowledge and all they need is a well-structured orientation to enable them appreciate areas they need to adjust in the teaching and learning methods.
“The Curriculum Framework is a good document. This is a viable programme that is competency based and focuses on learners’ talents as well. All teachers want is the assurance that we have the right infrastructure in place before implementation,” Mr Ndolo said.