The Ministry of Education on Thursday officially launched the testing programme for the new education curriculum, setting the stage for the phasing out of the 8-4-4 system in January next year.
Education secretary Fred Matiang’i said the government had allocated sufficient resources to implement the new system.
“We are taking decisions that we know we can live with financially,” said Dr Matiang’i during the launch of the pilot programme at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).
The programme, involving 470 schools, aims to test the feasibility and validity of the planned curriculum designs, teacher preparation and assessment models.
Five pre-primary and five primary schools from each county have been picked for the pilot programme.
Testing of course materials will take eight to 10 weeks. Teachers in the identified schools will be trained to enable them implement the curriculum.
One school in every county will cater to learners with special needs.
The pilot is a major step to the adaptation of the new curriculum, which seeks to radically change Kenya’s 30-year-old 8-4-4 education system.
“We want accurate responses from learners. Do not edit them, we want factual information that will help us make rational decisions,” said Dr Matiang’i.
A report on the findings will be presented to the Cabinet and submitted to Parliament for approval before the end of the year.
Dr Matiang’i said the review is being driven by Kenyans and no foreigners are involved.
“We have started with training of head teachers, who are team leaders in schools, so that they understand what we mean by competency-based curriculum as opposed to the current system,” said KICD Director Julius Jwan.
Parents and school boards of management will also be involved in the programme.
“They will be required to provide extensive and honest feedback as part of the monitoring and evaluation process,” the minister said.
The new system is divided into three segments starting with early Pre-primary One to Grade 3, Middle-School (comprising Grades 4 to 9) and Senior School (from Grade 10 to 12).
The new curriculum seeks to equip learners with seven key skills; communication and collaboration; self-efficacy; critical thinking and problem solving; creativity and imagination; citizenship; digital literacy; and learning to learn.