By Ogova Ondego
Published July 24, 2017
Kenya is reviewing its basic education system with a view to embedding in it a national values system and practical skills for learners.
Julius Jwan, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development that is in charge of the curriculum of primary and secondary schools, says the new system that shall have two years of pre-school, six years of primary school, three years of secondary school and a further three years of tertiary training (2-6-3-3) system shall replace the current 8-4-4 (eight years of primary, four of secondary and a further 4 of university) that has been in existence since 1985 and that does not seem to recognise pre-school training though one cannot join primary school without having attended it; it is referred to as 8-4-4 instead of 3-8-4-4.
Dr Jwan, who spoke at the Embassy of Germany in Kenya during the ‘No Education, No Future’ on July 6, 2017 said the new system of basic education in Kenya shall lay emphasis on communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving,imagination and creativity,citizenship, digital literacy, and self-efficacy.
Unlike the 8-4-4 whose curriculum he described as is being ‘rigid and prescriptive with limited flexibility’,’focusing on summative assessment and competition’, and laying emphasis on ‘Schooling and teaching’, the 2-6-3-3 that he said stresses ‘competence’ will be ‘flexible with Opportunities for specialisation’, have a ‘balance between formative and summative assessment and excellence’ and lay stress on ‘education and learning’.
Like the 8-4-4, the aims of the 2-6-3-3 shall be to achieve Kenya’s national goals of education that Dr Jwan listed as:
- Fostering nationalism, patriotism and national unity
- Promoting social, economic, technological and industrial needs for national development
- Promoting individual development and self-fulfillment
- Promoting sound moral and religious values
- Promoting social equality and responsibility
- Promoting respect for and development of Kenya’s rich and varied cultures
- Promoting international consciousness and positive attitude towards other nations
- Promoting positive attitude towards good health and environmental protection.
Asked on what basis Kenya is reviewing its curriculum, Dr Jwan said this is informed by the requirements of the country’s Constitution whose Article 53 (1) states that every child has a right to free and compulsory basic education;The Kenya’s Vision 2030 blueprint for development that calls for the integration of early childhood into primary education, reforming of secondary
curriculum, and modernising teacher training; and Global trends such as UNESCO that recommends review of education curricula after every five years, East African Community Protocol that calls for standardised curriculum across partner states and Goal number 4 (ensuring quality education) of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The new system is currently on test ahead of its rollout in 2018 in pre- and lower primary schools (grades one to three) across the country. It shall then be gradually extended to grades four to six in 2020; grades seven to nine in 2020; grade 10 in 2021; grade 11 in 2022 and grade 12 in 2023.
That means the current 8-4-4 system will be phased out in secondary school in 2023 as the pioneer basic education graduates join university in 2024.
The new basic education system that replaces ‘classes’ and ‘forms’ with ‘grades’ is categorised into Early Years Education (nursery school to Grade Three); Middle School (Grades 4-9) and Senior School (Grades 10-12).