Challenges facing CBC curriculum and their solutions in Kenya

The Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) was started in 2017 to replace the old 8.4.4 system of education. The move was taken to equip the Kenyan child with the knowledge and skills for the 21st-century requirement.

However, since it started it had numerous challenges which started even before the enrollment by some stakeholders rejecting it. Some of the issues that were raised at that time have come to haunt the implementation and the government needs to take measures to ensure learners are not disadvantaged.

Some of the main challenges are low teacher-learner ratio, inadequate infrastructure, teacher training issues, understaffing, and lack of parental support among others. The government should provide more resources both physical and human and ensure teachers are well-trained on CBC curriculum implementation.

Challenges facing CBC curriculum implementation in Kenya

Some of the challenges of the implementation of CBC cut across all schools while others can be unique to specific areas which have had challenges even in the old curriculum.

These are some of the CBC challenges that affect the whole system and the government should give priority.

Inadequate teachers training

Teachers are the main stakeholders when it comes to the implementation of any curriculum. This means if they are not equipped well then they cannot be able to pass the same knowledge to their learner.

The government through the Ministry of Education has been doing training but they have not been adequate. You cannot train someone to train a new curriculum within a week and expect them to use that knowledge to train.

This is a main challenge and the government should ensure the trainings are done continuously until teachers are comfortable with the curriculum.

Inadequate teaching and learning resources.

CBC curriculum is a resource-intensive type of teaching and learning that requires a lot of doing to acquire skills. This means more resources are required which the majority of schools currently don’t have.

Schools and teachers are encouraged to be innovative and use locally available resources but still, it is a challenge to the implementation.

Teacher-learner ratio

Kenyan schools have been understaffed for a very long time even the 8.4.4 system. CBC implementation requires more monitoring and teacher leaner interaction which means fewer learners to be assigned per teacher.

Currently, some classes in public schools can have over 50 learners per class which is not possible to manage under the new curriculum.

For example, the government recruited teachers for junior high school, but most schools got only one teacher. This is not possible for one or even four teachers to teach all subjects in that class.

This is another major problem that the government should budget for each year to increase the number of teachers in schools.

Lack of ICT skills and infrastructure

Digital skills are one of the main core competencies that should be covered in the new curriculum. However, most schools don’t even have a single desktop computer. Some primary schools are not even connected to the national power grid.

This brings a dilemma on how those learners in those schools will acquire that competency.

Again, most teacher in these schools don’t have basic ICT skills to use let alone to train their learners on the same skill.

To make education equally accessible to all it should deal with this issue to ensure learners are equipped with digital skills regardless of where they are in the country

Lack of clear assessment standardisation

Teachers are supposed to assess each learner individually per skill which makes it difficult to be an objective assessment. The criteria used for assessment are not clear and they can bring about bias assessment.

Again teachers have no confidence yet to implement CBC assessment since psychologically they have not adopted the new assessment method.

KNEC has developed a CBA Framework but teachers should be trained on the same to ensure they understand and are confident to use it.

The teacher should also be sensitized more on the new CBC grading system since they were used to the old 8.4.4 grading.

Solutions to challenges facing CBC curriculum

The government should endeavour to make sure the Kenyan child gets a basic education which is a constitutional right for all. To achieve this through the Ministry they should deal with the above challenges and others that may come.

Some of the suggested solutions to the challenges facing CBC curriculum implementation are.

Employ more teachers

Since teachers are key stakeholders the government should employ more to reduce the teacher-learner ratio. It should prioritize in its budget for teacher recruitment to keep on adding more teachers. This will eventually reduce the ratio and improve on delivery of the curriculum.

Capacity building in-service teacher

Those teachers already in service don’t have the CBC pedagogical skills since in their teacher training course it was not taught. One of the main functions of TSC as the teacher employer is capacity building those already in service to ensure they can implement the curriculum.

These trainings should be continuous for all teachers until when they are comfortable with delivering the new curriculum with confidence.

They should be regular and comprehensive to cover any new challenge that is identified in the course of implementation.

Provision of teaching and learning resources

Most of the schools don’t have the material to implement the CBC curriculum. These issues should be resolved promptly otherwise some students will be disadvantaged.

Schools, teachers, and learners meanwhile should be innovative and come up with locally available resources for use in learning. Also, those schools that are close together can share the resources available within their institutions.

However, the government must deal with this issue to ensure equity for all Kenyan children.

Teacher training courses

The institutions that train teachers should change their curriculum to reflect CBC pedagogy skills. This will ensure those who come to the workplace already have the skills needed and they don’t need retraining.

All stakeholders in teacher training should work together the achieve this since teachers are key implementors of the curriculum.

Sensitize the public and parents on the importance of the CBC curriculum

To reduce the effect of system changeover all stakeholders in education should be sensitized on the need for the new curriculum and its benefits.

The government should run a campaign to enlighten the general public on why need for the new curriculum. When they are in the knowhow they will support the implementation and reduce resistance to change.

On the other side, for parents to be involved they should be aware of their role and responsibility in the new curriculum. They can be sensitized by the school holding meetings between them and parents to enlighten them on the issues.

An enlightened society will make the implementation better and with less resistance to change.

Installation of power, Internet, and computers

The CBC curriculum requires digital skills and other practicals that need both power and an internet connection. The government should ensure most schools are connected and those not can access the service.

The government can also revive the free primary school laptop project that was started some years back to increase access to digital devices. To start they can give a computer to each school for demonstrations and teacher use, then progress to leaner devices.

Train teachers on digital skills

Most teachers in the school don’t have adequate skills to train the digital skills to learners. The ministry should train digital champions to ensure at least in each school there is a teacher who can comfortably teach.

They can also be trained on basic computer maintenance and troubleshooting to ensure those devices are maximally utilized.

Sensitize teachers on the implementation of Competency-Based Assessment (CBA)

After training the learners should be assessed. KNEC as the main assessment body in basic education should ensure teachers are comfortable with CBC assessment. They should sensitize the teacher and all other stakeholders on how to carry out the assessment.
The KNEC CBA framework is a start, but now they should make sure it is implemented and any challenges encountered are dealt with.