Regional Education Learning Initiatives - RELI together with Africa Population and Health Research (APHRC), ziziAfrique and Strathmore University organized a two-hour talk on the on-going curriculum reforms in Kenya. The event took place at Strathmore University, Nairobi on Friday, 29th September 2017. RELI is a projected three-year initiative that seeks to enhance the effectiveness of education organization in East Africa (and DRC) through improved Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning; cross-project learning and policy engagement. The clusters under RELI include: Accountability and Rights to Education, Life Skills, Flexible and Adaptable Learning Approaches Cluster and Teacher Development and Support. In attendance were various CSOs, Strathmore University Community, RELI members, schools, ziziAfrique and KICD among others. Jaslika was represented at the event by Declan Magero.
The event offered opportunity for RELI Cluster members, students and other education organizations to have discussions with policy makers focusing on the ongoing curriculum reforms in Kenya. The participants were encouraged to raise pressing issues related to the curriculum and more importantly how these issues relate to their cluster and programs they are implementing or area of study. The meeting aimed at giving participants a better understanding of the Curriculum Reform process and ensuring that the questions/issues and/or recommendations raised were taken forward to the policy and decision makers.
Education systems and curricula are considered important in transforming education, training and work orientations towards measured outcomes. Education systems are making efforts to respond to these challenges. Kenya faces increasing public demand for quality education and training both as a human right and as an essential investment for national development. Through the curriculum reform process in Kenya, great efforts were being made to address emerging issues as reflected in the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), UNESCO (IBE) Curriculum Reform requirements, the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the Kenya Vision 2030, 21st Learning (Skills and Approaches) and Sessional Paper No 2 of 2015, among others. The curriculum reform process envisages the following changes in the curriculum: from less focus on content to more focus on competencies, from rigid and prescriptive curriculum to flexible with opportunities for specialization, from focus on summative assessment and competition to balance between formative and summative assessment and excellence.
Dr. Julius Jwan, the CEO of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development and Senior Assistant to the CEO Ms. Jacqueline Onyango were the principal speakers at the event. They took the audience through the entire design of the curriculum and the current pilots towards its implementation. The discussions were moderated by Dr. John Mugo, Director Data and Voice, Twaweza East Africa.In their inputs from the floor, participants underscored the urgent need for the curriculum to contribute to the elimination of negative ethnicity. They also emphasized on the need for KICD to liaise with organizations on parental engagement models; get civil society organizations (CSOs) to adapt to the curriculum; establish more training institutions for Special Needs Education and schools; and to formalize their engagements with CSOs to improve feedback and inputs. Among other observations and recommendations made were:
Reinstitution of inquiry based learning into the Kenyan teacher training curricula, absent from it since the 1980s
Addressing the divide between digital based literacy and embracing digital platforms in schools where they largely remains illegal
Promoting competency based learning to narrow the disparity between the few highly performing schools and the majority that were not doing so well
Addressing psychosocial learning
Engaging parents on how they can contribute and participate in learning process of the their children, especially doing the long vacations.
Finally, a question was raised on how the curriculum will prepare learners for a global economy? It was noted that most multilateral institutions conduct competency based interviews with reference to job opportunities.