Ruto says curriculum review to make Kenyan education competitive

Deputy President, William Ruto
Deputy President, William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto has rooted for ongoing curriculum review, saying it will make Kenyan education sector competitive by inculcating entrepreneurial skills to match developed countries.

Speaking while launching the National Conference on Curriculum Reform at KICC in Nairobi, Ruto said the government will back review of 8-4-4 system and its replacement with 2-6-6-3 system, in reforms aimed at balancing arts and science subjects to ensure the country prospers.

However, Education expert Janet Muthoni refuted claims the review and replacement is being rushed.

Muthoni says the Ministry of Education and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development have been working on the proposed education reforms since 2010 and how to best implement the new system.

If adopted, Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations will be scrapped and a new examination mechanism adopted.

Last week, the process that could see the end of the 8-4-4 system begun.

The curriculum that has governed the school system for more than thirty years has been blamed for a marked drop in the quality of graduates from Kenyan institutions of learning.

Although there have been previous attempts to overhaul the system, this will be the first time in 13 years that the Ministry of Education is seeking to change it.

Those opposed to the 8-4-4 system say it continues to produce generations of learners whose main focus is on mastery of content, students who walk around with a singular burden to pass exams.

“If I take kids through a 4 year program and I give them an exam and only 1/3 make basic university entrance, I have to go back and evaluate my curriculum. Am I testing the right things? Was learning going on? Were they being taught?” posed Education Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i.

The current system has a bias for the arts, with only 22% of those joining universities pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses.

According to the Education Ministry, this scenario threatens to hamper realization of the Vision 2030.

A 2012 report of a task force headed by former Moi University Vice Chancellor Prof. Douglas Odhiambo proposed a 2-6-3-3-3 system where a student would be expected to do two years of pre-school, six years of primary, a further six years in secondary school and 3 years at university; that recommendation however never saw the light of day.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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