Ideas & Debate

LETTERS: New education system will boost Big Four goals

Parklands Baptist School pupils
Parklands Baptist School pupils at a past book fair at Sarit Centre in Nairobi. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE 

Today, the global education systems are shifting from emphasis on knowledge to competency. This has spurred the adoption of the Competency-Based Education and Training approach in which skills and knowledge are geared towards achieving competence among the trainees.

Globally, debate on the suitable education system has too often focused on quality, structures and delivery methods while ignoring the learning results of the content passed.

The overall goal of competency-based learning is to guarantee that a learner acquires knowledge and skills that are essential for success in school, careers, and adult life. If a student fails to meet anticipated learning standards, such a learner receives additional instruction and practice and support to help one attain competency.

Undeniably, the government’s audacious move to embrace competency-based education and training is not just a plus but has the potential to significantly enhance the achievement of the government Big Four agenda.

Competency-based learning is key to achieving the agenda through a skilled workforce. Under this approach, the trainees are subjected to continuous assessment before receiving competency certification.


Competency-based learning is market-driven and provides skills that enable trainees to perform given tasks consistently within the expected industry standards. The Big Four agenda focuses on four pillars of development — food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and universal healthcare.

Competency-based learning underpins assessment tools as well as learning packages, which are used as guides in delivering and measuring learning results.

This means learners are imparted with competency in areas of specialisation and this, in turn, will help to drive the achievement of the Big Four agenda.

Competency-based learning is expected to play a critical role in cementing the foundation of development and socio-economic empowerment for the people. Indeed, for Kenya to achieve economic development there must be considerable investment in human capital.

Competency-based learning enhances people’s understanding of their area of specialisation unlike the traditional form of education and training, which means such people are better exposed and trained to get into the job market.

Kenya’s aim to be industrialised nation can be fast-tracked through competency-based learning.

Consequently, competency-based learning will help improve the lifestyles of people and leads to other broad social benefits to individuals and society.

Developed countries appreciate the importance of competency-based learning as the catalyst for development and socio-economic empowerment

They have heavily invested in this education system.

The government must ensure that we transition seamlessly to competency-based learning. Further, the process must be done judiciously so that no schools are left behind. Competency-based learning will raise people’s productivity and creativity as well as promote entrepreneurship and technological advancement. Besides, it will play a very crucial role in securing socio-economic progress and improving income circulation among people.

Competency-based learning will increase the shared ability of a workforce to carry out existing tasks more speedily and in a better manner as well as facilitate the transmission of knowledge about latest information, products, and technologies created by others as well as boost our capacity to create new knowledge, products, and technologies.

Therefore, ignoring the economic value of competency-based learning would imperil the prosperity of future generations with widespread negative impacts such as poverty and social exclusion.

The government must also invest in quality secondary education. Universal primary education alone cannot achieve development.

Quality secondary education and primary education will create the necessary human capital to foster socio-economic development and alleviate poverty.

Research has shown that people who are exposed to competency-based education are likely to find gainful employment and are active as well as productive.

Bernard Kimani, Communication Specialist, Nairobi.