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Why the education chiefs should listen to CBC grievances

cbc

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha at a past CBC meeting in Nairobi. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

Summary

  • CBC refers to a curriculum that puts emphasis on what one can do, especially skills needed by industry.
  • Matters concerning stakeholders like the litigation over CBC should not be cast in a negative light.
  • A more critical examination of the CBC, including the prevalent threats to its development and implementation, is necessary.

The court order halting the (CBC) until the emerging grievances from different stakeholders are fully addressed is democratic. It is healthy for people to air their views, judicially, on crucial problems that affect them.

Many people may look at such decisions in a negative sense. But, in the law of therapeutic jurisprudence, listening to grievances is important to those who are disturbed. It attenuates stress-related matters and ameliorates emotionally destructive tendencies that are rampant in our institutions.

For example, when I became a founding Dean of Students Affairs at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University Science and Technology (JOOUST), we used to have listening sessions (Baraza) as therapy to any emerging students’ educational and personal problems. This approach had a great therapeutic value. The evidence of listening therapy success is that we never had any student strikes or disruptions throughout my tenure.

Similarly, matters concerning stakeholders like the litigation over CBC should not be cast in a negative light.

It creates an opportunity to ventilate issues that may hamper the implementation of CBC. It should, also, serve to remind educators that they need to act in the best interests of the learners. If education authorities act erroneously on issues about learners, they may be held liable.

A more critical examination of the CBC, including the prevalent threats to its development and implementation, is necessary.

The word competency means having adequate skill, knowledge, and judgment strength in a specialty. It can, also, be defined as the ability to do something well.

The Latin word for competence is competentia, meaning capability or sufficiency of qualification. The term competence came from the French word competere, meaning to strive after.

CBC refers to a curriculum that puts emphasis on what one can do, especially skills needed by industry. In this regard, it is a curriculum that gives the learner the ability to do something to a specified standard.

From a stipulative perspective, CBC is viewed as a curriculum that selects learning experiences from the culture of the society. The definition mirrors CBC as a curriculum that endears students to the manufacturing of products from our local or indigenous finds including but not limited to artifacts, mentifacts, agrofacts, and ecofacts.

Research studies carried out in developing countries by the World Bank, Unesco, and USAid cite serious deficiencies in human, physical, monetary, and infrastructure resources as some of the obstacles to quality in most learning institutions.

From the concerns raised by stakeholders, the threats to CBC are lack of technology (IT) related facilities; the requirement that teachers pay Sh6,000 each year for continuous professional development (teachers say it should be at government expense); costly charges levied by schools affecting many unemployed parents/guardians; overcrowded and ill-equipped schools; learners and their parents being required to buy too many textbooks; lack of practical/vocational facilities; intimidating and hegemonic power relations, and hurried implementation.

First, it should be noted that a teacher or anyone else will tend to resist any sudden change. Gradual or incremental changes are usually tolerated.

Second, in a newspaper report, one teacher said that they were implementing CBC to keep their jobs.

A statement like this may betray their experience of the Education Cabinet Secretary’s coercive leadership style. People tend to resist what seems to threaten their existence and security.

Thirdly, many people like comfort zones but not what brings overload or increased burden. For example, the teachers appear to deem the professional development course they are being asked to enroll for by the TSC CEO as an increased burden.

It does not help that the teachers have to pay money from their little salaries for the course. Many stakeholders say there are no benefits except excessive charges, too much power and coercion.

Fifth, people tend to resist change when the CBC proponents are opaque. They have raised pertinent questions about the steps supposed to be followed in curriculum development and implementation, which they feel were ignored.

What were the terms of reference for the CBC commission, for example? How did the commission get to understand stakeholders’ needs?

Sixth, some stakeholders say that successful innovations and topical issues should be infused into the CBC.

The curriculum has come at a time when there are many important emerging technologies called the fourth industrial revolution (4IR); not the first industrial revolution (11R) which is the 17th-century outdated technology.

The 41R technological developments include robotics engineering, drone technology, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, Internet of Things, big data technologies, sensors learning, 3D printing cars, machine learning and digital technology.

This is the future, which our learners need to be exposed to at the early years in a simple manner until they will ultimately progress into complex aspects in higher education. So, we need proper legislation and policy frameworks for such novel changes.

Prof Sikwadhi is a curriculum expert