The piloting of the new curriculum starts on Monday in 470 schools across Kenya.The piloting will take place in nursery and Class One to Three, following the training of more than 1,888 teachers to undertake the exercise last week.
Five pre-primary and five primary schools from each of the 47 counties will participate in the exercise which will take between eight and 10 weeks.
“It is all about a teacher being able to verify what a learner can do as opposed to what they know,” said Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development Director Julius Jwan.
Dr Jwan went on: “A teacher will be more of a facilitator than an instructor. We will allow a child to play a bigger role and the teacher will do more than just telling a child what to do.”
He said teachers involved in piloting had already been taken through the curriculum requirements which entail being taught how to handle various teaching subjects. These include competence based education, inquiry learning, multiple intelligences to recognise differentiated learning styles, value-based education, learning resources, assessment and collaboration and teamwork which are all critical components of the new curriculum.
“The teachers are free to begin utilising the different learner-centred methodologies and assessment modes they were exposed to during the one-week training,” said the director.
Strongly embedded in the exercise is the component of monitoring and evaluation with feedback being received from the teachers, headteachers, quality assurance officers as well as the curriculum support officers to enable effective support to the teachers.
The resultant report will be used to improve the curriculum designs as well as the learning processes and further guide the envisaged roll-out of the new system of education in January next year.
The exercise is a major step towards adopting the new curriculum, which seeks to replace the 30-year-old 8-4-4 system.
The new system has three tiers: Early years, consisting of Pre-primary One to Grade Three; middle-school, comprising Grades Four to Nine; and senior school, running from Grade 10 to 12.
The new curriculum seeks to equip learners with seven key skills: communication and collaboration; self-efficacy; critical thinking and problem solving; creativity and imagination; citizenship; digital literacy; and learning to learn.
The pilot findings of the early years education will be extrapolated to the middle- and senior- school education levels.
Dr Jwan said the move to stagger implementation of the proposed curriculum and pilot it in some schools countrywide was deliberately meant to provide room for further scrutiny, to ensure the final product is universally acceptable.
The envisaged changes, she said, will provide a paradigm shift in the way exams are conducted by facilitating the assessment of learners, progressively.
Meanwhile, a child rights activist in Nairobi on Saturday lauded a move by the Education ministry to give more attention to children’s play in the 2-6-3-3 education system.
Dr Pamela Kola, the African region representative for the International Play Association, said that it was the right step to have play recognised.
“Schools have been denied play because of academics,” she said ahead of Sunday’s World Play Day, a day co-ordinated by IPA which aims at emphasising the importance of play in children’s lives.
Dr Kola said that this year, the focus will be on Nairobi’s Uhuru Park where hundreds of children are expected to be brought for play on Sundey. Unlike in previous years where she has co-ordinated play events at schools in Nairobi, this year the attention will be at Uhuru Park because the day falls on a weekend.