CBC Curriculum Kenya: This feature opinion on the competency based curriculum (CBC) vs the 8-4-4 was first written by economic analyst Ephraim Njega: I have read the document on which CBC is based. There are a lot of issues on that document that bother me a lot. These include;
1). It assumes that there was no education system in Kenya before CBC. Instead of building on what was there it imposes a system straight from another country
2). It ignores all the realities that exist in Kenya and assumes that what has worked elsewhere will work here. The countries quoted in the document such as Germany, Malaysia, Finland, Sweden, India have different economic and cultural realities
3). It assumes that all the infrastructure, manpower and materials to run CBC exist in the country which is not correct
4). It assumes we have uniform standards of living as you would find in a highly developed country. For instance, it says that ICT will be at the centre of the implementation. Thus it assumes everyone involved in it has ICT equipment and is ICT literate
5). It ignores the fact that we have curricular and extracurricular activities. It wants to turn extracurricular activities into academic subjects. It offers a baseless proposal that one cannot be successful in both curricular and extracurricular activities. If you are good in sports you are assumed unfit for academia
6). It confuses basic education with tertiary education. It proposes that after senior secondary school some students will receive artisan certification and go into employment. If secondary schools are for attaining work skills what’s the role of higher education. How do you certify a 17 year old for employment?
7). It assumes the country has no unemployment challenge. This means a 14 year old is condemned to a rigid career path with the assumption that enough job vacancies awaits them. Nothing can be further from the reality
8). It is clear to me that these are foreign inspired ideas. The ideas have been imported and imposed without local adaptation
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We need to critically examine this system. We should suspend it immediately until all concerns raised are addressed. We should trace our path back to the original 8-4-4 curriculum. Those who say that CBC is good but the implementation is bad are mistaken. The system starts training kids for work before educating them. The final output will be semi-illiterate workers who can only operate at the the lowest end of the food chain.
There is this talk that 8-4-4 was too theoretical. It is as if understanding theoretical concepts is not important. A person can learn to be a mechanic without ever going to school. However, such a person will always be limited in life because they can’t comprehend complex engineering concepts.
I know many people who use computers but have never been taught in class about computers. Many of these people never fully understand the power of a computer.
This is why you can see someone entering a Table of Contents in Ms Word manually yet this is something which should be automatically generated. The same person doesn’t know how to automatically generate List of References/Bibliography or even insert a Subject Index. The person can’t even use Mail Merge if they needed to.
Theory is more important than practice because with theory you can teach yourself to practise. You can have all the practice there is but it will never replace theory. It is very limiting when you know how to perform a task but don’t understand why you are performing it the way you are doing. This is where little knowledge turns out dangerous.