University lecturer and blogger Dr. Wandia Njoya has been on the forefront in criticizing the new Kenyan Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).
She has reasons to do so and I believe in what she says.
The new curriculum unlike 8-4-4 system is meant to turn Kenyans into zombies who are not allowed to discover, dream and reach for their potential.
Dr. Wandia articulates the issue in her blog and social media pages and am just going to share snippets of this urgent message that she has been sharing for over two years now.
Dr. Wandia Njoya
The reason we are raising questions is because CBC is not just a curriculum reform. It is a system replacement and social reform. CBC is distorting the relationships betwen kids and parents, citizens and society.
CBC is transforming Kenyans from citizens to workers. It is turning parents into pupils, and teachers into family supervisors. We are going to confuse pupils even more in this already very confusing world.
Kenyans should know that teachers do not perform miracles. You dont force a bad curriculum on us, call us names, then expect us to teach your kids in a wholesome way. We Kenyans need to grow up and think like a civilization.
So while claiming to improve education, the ministry of education has proposed to parliament, through sessional paper number 1 of 2019, to withdraw from education, and instead hand over our taxes to private sector to provide education. The same thing has happened with health. The government has withdrawn from providing healthcare and has set up NHIF as a health bank to collect money from us, and then pass it on to private sector to provide health services.
The government is implementing a system that it has not truly budgeted for. This is a failure from the onset. Missing from the sessional paper is a costing of the actual implementation of CBC.
We are not told how much materials, training of teachers, consultancies, travel of administrators cost, or how much more funds schools will need to implement the system.
The other notoriously unspoken aspect of the new system is that the government is planning to hand over tax payers’ money for schools to private sector to build the same schools.
It is possible that the sinister plan behind this is to break up teachers’ unions to prevent teachers from bargaining for better pay, working conditions and holding schools and GoK responsible for quality education, since teachers in private schools will have different employers who can have more leeway in deciding salaries.
The government is proposing to create a fund to lend money to entrepreneurs who want to run schools.
Replacing education with lending money to private educators is essentially turning the government from a provider of social services into a bank.
The greatest threat from Ministry of Education is its reckless handing over of our education to business.
My concern is we are training kids for jobs from the age of 4. How will you train a 4 year old on competence?
In the case of the new system, children in middle secondary school will choose a pathway in the humanities, sciences and “talent” (they didn’t even try to call it the “arts”).
The “talent” pathway is quite dubious.
First, there will not be enough teachers, given the same government’s deriding of the arts as irrelevant to development. That means that a child who is told to follow the talent pathway will probably not get teachers or equipment, and so, the child is essentially being condemned to end her education.
Second, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) officials have publicly explained that the pathway is for students who fail in school because they are pursuing subjects in which they are not “talented,” or because they are not “academic” or “intellectual.”
There are two fallacies in this logic.
One is that the obsession with examinations, which the outgoing system is faulted for, is “academic” and “intellectual.”
The second fallacy is that poor performance is wholly determined by one’s genetic disposition, yet performance in school is decided mostly by factors that have little to do with the student.
Poor students may be hungry or lack a conducive environment for learning, both at home and at school.
This essentially means that children from poor areas or marginalized ethnic groups will be herded to the unfunded “talent” pathway, and their abandonment by the education system will be termed as a natural result of their birth.
Racism, by its very nature, also attributes consequences of social actions to the birth of the victims of those very consequences.
That is why the logic of this new education system is fundamentally racist, and a carry-over from previous colonial education projects
that condemned Africans as incapable of being intellectual, academic, or scientific.
As I said, the running theme in the colonial project is that we should educate “enough to be workers, but not enough to be free human beings.” The same thing is happening with these reforms.
From Dr. Wanda’s writings, I’ve learnt that we Kenyans have often bit these two lies hook, line and sinker.
The first lie is that 8-4-4 is irredeemably bad education system.
The second, is that private sector is the best for us.
Both notions above are incorrect. 8-4-4 system just needed adjustments that would tray teachers and students as humans, not as master and slave.
Private sector, well is private sector. The best they do is to make profit at any expense.
They don’t care for humanity.
Please, let us begin by changing our mindsets here.
Governments should do a good job and they can.
One of our problems is that we have resigned to fate as Kenyans, we have accepted mediocrity and lesser and substandard services from our government and the leaders we elect.
We need to keep them on toes, by petitioning, assembling, picketing and demonstrating as given in article 37 of our constitution, for a better Kenya.
We should desist from the greed of short term gains and look to the future of our children and children’s children.
Let’s make the change now.