Kenya is a country whose fragility becomes evident whenever a new idea is injected into of its systems. This is evident in the politics surrounding the implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), with two antagonistic interests in the debate.
On the one hand is the Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission insisting that the CBC implementation will continue. On the other hand, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has rejected the way the new curriculum is being implemented. The row shows not even education matters are safe from politics.
Kenyans are better informed than before, which is why the input of the public and institutions is critical in determining the fate of CBC. A rational conclusion should be reached through an agreement between the ministry and Knut on a matter so serious to our future.
Kenyans are the ultimate beneficiaries and thus, paramount stakeholders in the whole agenda. Whereas both sides claim to have the best interest of the public, some individuals and institutions have become blind and deaf to appreciate how easily we can muddy the knowledge industry.
The ministry insists: “The CBC train has already left the station”, while Knut cuts the figure of a desperate passenger weeping behind the fast-moving, almost disappearing train.
The teachers’ union has raised grievances, which cannot be overlooked. But what is the opinion of other passengers in the CBC train? The desire was to inculcate the 21st century skills in learners.
However, this objective now appears crumpled. Knut is an important player because it constitutes implementers of this syllabus and ought to be listened to.
The union must, however, make objective contributions and also seek the input of institutions such as the National Education Board, which is tasked to, among other things, ensure the right to quality education.
Manufacturing and other sectors should wake up now and pose the questions concerning the nature of skills the market requires.
Higher learning institutions comprise the final phases at which trainees will require skill. Those institutions obviously have a point to make. Bodies with responsibility of shaping the rate of information exchange are aware which public opinion overrides the other.
If all these sectors converge to harmonise the implementation of CBC, a viable solution will ultimately be found. Otherwise, CBC will continue to be politicised at the expense of its benefits.
Research studies that have so far been done and should be sought to shed more light on the probability of CBC success.
If the disagreements persist, we risk destroying the curriculum that has taken much time and resources to roll out.
The writer is master’s student at Pwani University