With schools having re-opened for the first term of a new year, parents have been up and down trying to get all the necessary requirements for a new school year. As each new school year begins, it serves as a reminder of a dwindling 8-4-4 system and the growth of a new system. We have all heard of the new education system, as many have termed it.
The Competency-based Approach to curriculum (The CBC system). This transition has been met with mixed emotions over the past five years that it has been around. The major mood that this system has been met with however, is visible confusion.
Curriculum is a tool that works to empower people with a set of skills, knowledge, attitude and values that enable them to fit in socially and economically so that they are of benefit to themselves and to the nation.
The CBC uses an approach that allows a student to learn and master education at their own pace and using methods that most appeal to them. It can be seen as a curriculum method that breaks away from the usual patterns that the students are used to. It focuses on a student as an individual and looks at what they are good at.
This is contrary to the usual generalization of all students in a class, studying the same subject at the same pace regardless of whether or not the student has understood the concept.
The CBC system has its own advantages over the 8-4-4 system.
This system focuses on equipping learners with necessary practical skills and cognitive abilities opposite to the 8-4-4 system which simply focused on equipping learners with a lot of unnecessary theoretical knowledge. It allows for a student to focus on what they can do better rather than focusing on a wide array of courses and subjects that they can never be really good at.
The system also has the capability of creating individuals with great expertise in the specific fields. The system has been embraced in some nations where there have been visible results due to early specialization by learners.
The CBC system also produces creative and innovative students contrary to the 8-4-4 system. The 8-4-4 system mainly focused on the dull and mundane of the classroom, targeting excellence in so many subjects.
The CBC goes past the constraints of the classroom and allows the students to be as creative as they need to be. The students get breathing space with the out-of-the-class set-up which gives them the perfect conditions for them to grow and expand their skills and their creativity to another level.
With proper implementation and early specialization into the fields the students are good at, the CBC system has the capability of providing a fresh set of well-trained and adequately passionate career individuals.
There is no good that lacks its bad. The CBC has its own disadvantages as well.
The learning material and the learning process in general are not quite affordable. The biggest challenge that parents have faced with this system is the cost of buying the endless learning material. Contrary to the 8-4-4 where all the parents needed to buy were pens and books, this system calls for vast requirements with every academic year.
Materials ranging from art stationery to home science requirements, to sports equipment to even things like chairs, wood, brooms and even pangas have left parents incurring increased levels of costs on resumption of schools. This increased costs coupled with in-term costs on some of the class activities have left many parents shocked and at an opposition to the system.
Poor performance and low guidance to the students is also another disadvantage. Kenya as a country is not at the level where one teacher can monitor a small number of students. As a result, getting a child to perfect on one area and understanding their strengths is not quite as effective.
It is a fact that we cannot be able to afford the infrastructure and learning tools needed for this system. Without library materials and even libraries, media teaching and learning resources, the CBC system may not give the expected results. This however, is yet to be seen as we await the Kenya Certificate of Basic Education for the Grade Six learners at the end of the year.