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Decision on Grade 7 location was laudable



Decision on Grade 7 location was laudable

A much-eagerly awaited decision on the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) is finally in. It has come as a huge relief for Grade Six candidates, their parents, teachers and other stakeholders.

The decision to retain them in their current primary schools has averted chaos that was looming, with inadequate preparations to usher in the new system. As the young learners, who have just completed their Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) tests, transition to Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) next month will mark a major milestone in implementation of the new system.

It is laudable that this decision has been arrived at following wide consultations that have eased the jitters among parents just a month before the reopening of schools. There had been fears over the fate of the KPSEA candidates, who are still in their pre-teens, if the JSS were to be located in secondary schools. Parents were worried that the young ones risked coming under the influence of physically bigger bullies in secondary schools.

Domiciling JSS in the primary schools is a wise move, as the young boys and girls will remain in a familiar environment under the guidance of their old teachers. It was evident that many schools were hugely unprepared for the changeover and this delay is an opportunity to address the shortcomings and boost capacity.  Not enough classrooms and other facilities had been put up.  The next three years should be sufficient time to fix this.

Ministry of Education officials and teachers have a chance to fine tune CBC, using the findings from the assessments carried out. It is also instructive that the results of the just-concluded national exam will not be used for placement to the JSS.  They will be used to monitor progress and provide feedback on areas that need tweaking. 

Changing an education system is a serious national undertaking. It is, therefore, commendable that the government has pledged to recruit 30,000 new teachers by January to ease a major shortfall.. The capacity to effectively roll out the new curriculum must also be enhanced.

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