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What’s in store for learners, parents and teachers as schools reopen

As schools open for third term today, learners, parents and teachers will be looking forward to the close of an academic year that has been eventful in and out of the learning institutions.

Probably the biggest event of the year in education has been the roll-out of the competency-based curriculum (CBC) in pre-primary and lower primary.

NEW CURRICULUM

It is the first time the country has effected a curriculum reform since 1984 when the 8-4-4 system was launched.

The implementation has come with its fair share of success and challenges.

The pioneer Grade 3 learners will conclude the two-month national Kenya Early Years Assessment on September 13.

When the Kenya National Examinations Council said it would conduct the assessment, there was an outcry as many mistook it for an examination.

The issue has since been clarified.

All the same, the assessment was marred by confusion, ill-preparedness and logistical challenges before schools closed.

According to an adviser at the Ministry of Education, the purpose of the assessment is to check the progress of learning.

“It is like weighing a child when it’s born and progressively doing so in order to determine its nutritional needs,” he said.

IMPORTANT DATES

Private schools appeared to fare better than public ones in the assessment, further widening the gap in academic performance between the two categories of learning institutions.

At the end of the assessment, experts at Knec will analyse the scores and give feedback to stakeholders like the Teachers Service Commission to train tutors and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development to assess the effectiveness of the curriculum and make changes if necessary.

The other big events of the year are the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations.

This is the first time Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha will oversee the tests as minister after having streamlined Knec where he served as chairman and greatly reduced cheating.

The 1.78 million candidates will, however, lose a week of their study time after the school calendar was adjusted to allow the National Population and Housing Census to go on uninterrupted.

Apart from the candidates, the other learners will officially end their academic year on Friday October 25.

KCPE candidates will rehearse for the national tests on Monday, October 28 and write their first paper the following day. The last paper will be on Thursday, October 31.

TEXTBOOKS

The KCSE candidates will have the rehearsal on November 1. The examination will begin on November 4 and end on November 27.

Even as the candidates prepare for the tests, teachers have raised concerns that the government has not supplied Social Studies and Religious Education textbooks for Std 7 and 8, forcing parents to buy them.

The situation is worse for those in Std 4, 5 and 6 who will have gone a whole year without reading materials in all subjects if the government does not supply the books in the coming two months.

“There has been no communication on when the books will arrive. Even if they are delivered now, it’s too late for our candidates,” a primary school head teacher told the Nation.

Last year, the ministry advised secondary school principals not to buy English literature and Kiswahili fasihi set books, with the promise that they would be delivered. That is yet to be done.

It greatly hurt the much-touted policy to deliver books directly to schools instead of sending funds to the accounts of the institutions for their purchase.

Publishers have submitted materials for Grade 4 to KICD for evaluation, which was expected have been completed on August 30. Results will be released on September 13, according to the KICD tender bid documents.