Parents head to court over demanding Competency Based Curriculum

The progressive implementation of the new education system, the Competency-Based Curriculum, suffered a major blow this year after a case was filed in court challenging its implementation.

But long before the CBC found its way to the corridors of justice, tension, discomfort, and opposition had engulfed its implementation.

At the centre of the discontentment, was a section of parents angered with what they termed as increasing demands the system had weighed on them.

Unhappy parents took to social media narrating how they had been forced to learn how to make scarecrows and fashion clocks and even wheelbarrows out of cardboard.

It was not long before the anger crystalised into a legal suit with a lawyer challenging its continuing implementation.

Esther Ang’awa, in a case filed before High Court, argued that the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) was rolled out without prior preparations and consultations.

At the same time, she argued that teachers are ill-prepared and the implementation of the new curriculum will harm children’s future.

Ang’awa has sued Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), National Assembly, and Interior CS Fred Matiang’i.

She wants the court to halt CBC implementation until her case is heard and determined.

“The actions of the first to the fourth respondents as set out in the petition are manifestly unconstitutional and unlawful, are prejudicial to the future of the children of Kenya and ought to be halted pending the hearing and determination of the questions raised,” her lawyer, Nelson Havi, argues.

Ang’awa is also asking the court to request Chief Justice Martha Koome to empanel a bench of more than five judges to hear the case. She is of the view that her case touches on weighty issues, which require more than one judge to settle.

CBC was introduced through Basic Education Curriculum Framework 2017 and Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2019 on the policy framework for reforming education and training for sustainable development in Kenya.

According to her, CBC is not superior to 8-4-4, adding that it does not cater to the needs of the country. She argues that CBC cannot stand without amending Basic Education Act No. 4 of 2013.

Her argument is that overhauling the 8-4-4 system is illegal and vague since it converts primary school to a secondary institution without a clear-cut transition process.

The pioneer class of the new education system, Competency-based curriculum, transited to Grade 5 in July leaving them with just one year before exiting Primary school.

Despite the hiccup, the government continued with preparation to facilitate the continued implementation of CBC.

In July, the training of diploma teachers who will be the first lot of CBC compliant pre-service teachers to be trained, began.

This followed the government’s decision to scrap the former certificate courses in 2019.

Under the new tuition regime, the diploma will be the minimum training level for all primary school teachers in the country as the government lays out plans for quality teaching and learning.

The entry requirements shall be C-plain in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination (KCSE) or its equivalent as equated by the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec).

The duration of the diploma training shall be three years.

Education CS George Magoha, when launching the programme, said training is key for sustainable capacity development of teachers and to improve the quality of education under the CBC.

The CS said this category of teachers will be trained specifically on how to teach pupils under the CBC and will only specialise in two subjects.

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