New 2-6-6-3 curriculum to be effected on 2019 as roadmap begins

New 2-6-6-3 curriculum to be effected on 2019 as roadmap begins



The new 2-6-3-3-3 education curriculum set to replace the 32-year-old 8-4-4 system will be fully rolled out on January 2019,according to the Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i.

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On Wednesday,the government  launched a new roadmap for phase two piloting roll-out of the proposed 2-6-3-3-3 school curriculum which begins this year and later its  implementation on January next year.

The pilot starts with immediate effect covering 33,000 schools across the country for Standards One and Two and part of Standard Three in a few schools.

Referred to as competence-based curriculum (CBC), the new system,  focuses on skills instead of knowledge.A report of the curriculum to the National Steering Committee with details for the roadmap for the new education system.

The curriculum will entail  two years of pre-school, six years of primary school, six years of high school, and three years of tertiary education (2-6-6-3). The classes will be referred to as grades and not standards.

Competence-based curriculum (CBC) will completely replace 4-4-4 on the year 2027 when the pioneering students will be set to complete high school.

Next year,the actual implementation  will cover pre-school up to Standard Four and move progressively up the system. 8-4-4 will continue until 2026when the last lot will sit for Form Four exams.

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Speaking at Kenya Institute of Curriculum and Development (KICD) after a consultative meeting with the National Steering committee,the CS said that implementation of the new curriculum is being phased out to allow proper preparation and execution,adding that piloting stage was part of the roll-out of the curriculum that would provide insights about its viability and areas requiring improvement, and hence better inform the actual implementation.

This will be the second time the country will be adopting a new curriculum since the 1985 change-over from the 7-4-2-3 system. This model comprised 7 years of primary education, 4 years of lower secondary, 2 years of upper secondary (form 5-6) and 3 years for a university course.

The system was phased out because it was deemed unsuitable for the changing aspirations of Kenyans and the labor market which was slowly beginning to embrace technology.

The programme laid emphasis on academics as opposed to orienting learners for employment. It also failed to cater for the critical pre-primary level of schooling for children under six years. The 8-4-4 system was adopted to seal those gaps but the curriculum soon came under criticism for churning out school leavers suited only for white-collar jobs.

The argument has been that the curriculum neglected the sectors which accelerate economic growth such as agriculture, construction, and fishing. An influx of white-collar job trainees over time created a skills imbalance in the job market, resulting in one of Kenya’s biggest obstacles to development – youth unemployment, which currently stands at 40 per cent.

This ignited the desire by the government to include Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as a key component of Vision 2030. The 8-4-4 system has also been criticized for being too expensive, broad and burdensome to learners with the latter being largely blamed for causing strikes in schools.

Even then, the system is credited for streamlining university enrollment by creating a level playing ground for both the poor and the rich. Previously, the rich would send their children to foreign universities after O-level leaving those from humble backgrounds to tackle Form 5 and 6 for university admission.

The new curriculum,which was piloted this year between May and September across 470 schools – 10 in each county has been touted as the ultimate remedy to limitations identified in the 8-4-4 system because it is entirely skills-based.

Learners will not sit exams but they will be evaluated through Continuous Assessment Tests (CATs) on the skills acquired as opposed to cramming for exams as has been the case. Experts are of the view that it will enable learners to develop beyond academics and also focus on how best they can use their specific talents to make a living. The needs of special needs children have also been incorporated in the curriculum which will integrate ICT at all levels of education.

The 2-6-3-3-3 model places emphasis on formative years of learning where learners will spend a total of eight years – 2 in pre-primary and six in primary.

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Fred Matiang'i

Fred Matiang’i

Lower primary subjects will include Kiswahili, English, literacy, and mother tongue as well as science, social studies and agricultural activities.

Upper primary will include Kiswahili, English, Mathematics, Home Science, Agriculture, Science and Technology, Creative Arts (art, craft and music), Moral and Life Skills and Physical and Health Education.

Others are social studies (citizenship, geography and history) with an option of a foreign language (French, German, Chinese and Arabic). Junior Secondary (grades 7, 8 and 9) and Senior Secondary Education (grades 10,11 and 12) will each take three years.

Junior secondary will be taught twelve subjects including – Mathematics, Kiswahili, English, life skills, health education, social studies, integrated science, business studies, religious education, agriculture, life skills, sports and physical education.) Learners at this level will also be required to take a minimum of one and a maximum of two optional subjects that suit their career choices, personalities, abilities and interests. Home science, foreign languages, Kenyan sign language, indigenous languages, visual arts, performing arts, Arabic and computer science will be optional at junior secondary.

Learners at senior secondary ranging from ages 15-17 will focus on three areas of specialization depending on their skills, talents and interests. These are arts and sports science, social sciences and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Graduates from this level will have the option to join vocational training centers or pursue university education for three years.

The new curriculum will require heavy spending to equip teachers with the necessary skills and tools as learning will mostly incorporate practical sessions as opposed to oral teaching.

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