The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development’s (KICD) recent confirmation that learning materials in local Gikuyu, Kikamba, Dholuo and Ekegusii languages have been approved is laudable.
This is because of the pivotal role that the mother tongue has been assigned in the new basic education curriculum framework. The rationale is that using mother tongue will help develop oral, reading and writing readiness competencies that set the learners on the path to second or third language acquisition.
That policy is supported by several studies that have continuously encouraged the importance of using mother tongue instruction in early childhood education.
However, as with all policy that looks good on paper, execution is always key. There are still questions in the public domain regarding how some aspects of the new curriculum will be implemented and this is one of them.
Will the delay in availability of learning materials for the other estimated 38 tribes affect the literacy plan? What happens in urban areas that are often multilingual (English, Swahili and mother tongue), which language material will be adopted?
These are questions the KICD will have to answer so that the goals of this programme become clearer to Kenyans.