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Ring-fence funds for CBC to avoid failure

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The new education curriculum enters a critical stage next year.

The pioneering group of the learners pursuing Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) will enter Grade Four in January, which is the start of middle school and which runs till Grade Six, where primary education terminates.

Since its formal launch in 2018 after two years of piloting, CBC has picked up well despite the teething challenges.

Its remarkable component is inculcating practical skills in the learners, departing from the 8-4-4, which, though intended to achieve a similar objective, diverted the course and changed focus to examination performance, which became its Achilles heel.

Progression of CBC to the next level requires proper preparation.

However, we are concerned that this may not happen because of funding and specially for teacher training and provision of teaching and learning resources.

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Last week, Parliament, in response to demands by the National Treasury to push through budget cuts, summoned Teachers Service Commission officials and asked that the agency forfeits part of the cash it had been allocated in the 2019/20 financial year.

Specifically, the TSC was required to cut back its expenditure by Sh364 million. Officially, it had been allocated Sh252 billion.

But as TSC executives pointed out, forfeiting such sums has serious ramifications on the rollout of the CBC.

Teacher training, which is due to commence next month and another session in April, may have to be suspended.

The implication is that the teachers will not be prepared to handle Grade Four pupils next year.

Teacher training has been organised in phases, beginning with those handling lower classes and progressing to upper classes; the latter have not been taken through the sessions.

Moreover, the scale-down is bound to hurt inspection and monitoring of teaching and learning in schools.

It is paramount that the government drastically cuts on its budget, given the flailing economy.

Revenues have dwindled and debts are rising, putting pressure on expenditure.

But although some projects and expenditure can be shelved, there are critical areas that must be protected — and the rollout of the new education curriculum is one of them.

In an ideal situation, funds for such undertakings should be ring-fenced so that they are not crowded out or scattered through capricious decisions.

Education is a long-term investment. It is about creating human resource, preparing the workforce to lead the country to new frontiers.

As it reorganises the budget, which is inevitable, the government should prioritise CBC implementation by giving it adequate financial and logistical resources.





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