In 2020, Kenya constituted a taskforce on Enhancing Access, Relevance, Transition, Equity and Quality for Effective Curriculum Reforms Implementation. The taskforce has released a report highlighting key issues and related recommendations that will enhance effective implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) reforms as stipulated in the Basic Education Curriculum Framework (KICD, 2017), Competency Based Assessment Framework and respective curriculum designs and programmes.
The taskforce report is to advise the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, on issues, policies and strategies that the education sector needs to address in order to ensure access, relevance, transition, equity and quality for effective curriculum reforms implementation.
The Taskforce Report makes recommendations regarding:
transition of Primary Grade 6 learners to Junior Secondary Grade 7 and domiciling of Junior Secondary School (JSS) Grades 7, 8 and 9 within the Basic Education structure;
- Transition of JSS learners to Senior Secondary School (SSS) Grades 10, 11 and 12;
- Transition from Basic to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET);
- Transition from Basic to University Education; positioning Special Needs Education (SNE) within the BECF;
- foregrounding Competency Based Assessment (CBA) at all levels of learning for all learners;
- conceptualizing and designing Competency Based Teacher Education (CBTE).
- the design and implementation of Parental Empowerment and Engagement (PEE), Value-Based (VBE) Education and Community Service Learning (CSL) Programmes;
- Synopsis of policy and legal Issues to support effective curriculum reforms implementation;
- Fronting Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Strategy and Framework for the CBC;
- Highlighting the need for a strong Standards and Quality Assurance System for Basic Education and Training programmes;
- The role of Good Governance, Financing and Integration of ICT for effective implementation of the curriculum reforms; as well as the need for a comprehensive communication strategy on the curriculum reforms implementation.
Transitioning and Domiciling of Junior Secondary School (JSS)
Junior Secondary School (JSS) Grades 7, 8 and 9 will be domiciled in the Secondary Education level. This is informed by the fact that it is at Junior Secondary School that learners will need to deepen their understanding of the broad CBC curriculum and choose the Pathways and Tracks to follow in Senior Secondary School.
The Primary School level lacks capacity, both in human resource and infrastructure (especially for teaching sciences), to facilitate the expected depth of engagement with the JSS CBC content. Further, domiciling JSS at Secondary School level will optimize teacher utilization as they will teach at both Junior and Senior Secondary school levels. This recommendation is aligned to other countries within the East African Community and international best practices.
Learners who, in 2022, will be in primary school Grade 6 under the 2-6-6-3 Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) and those in Standard 8 of the 8-4-4 education system will concurrently transition to Junior Secondary Grade 7 and Secondary Form 1, respectively. For effectiveness of transition from Primary to Secondary Education of the CBC and 8-4-4 cohorts and domiciling of JSS in the Basic Education structure, critical issues that will influence the double transitions need to be addressed. These include:
- a 27% increase in Secondary School learner population in Year 2023 from 4,381,701 to 6,029,168;
- trends of increased transition from Primary School between Year 2023 and 2025;
- learner characteristics at transition including changes in psycho- social maturity and age decline from an average of 14-year-olds to 12-year-olds;
- need for expansion of Secondary School human resource and infrastructure as well as funding of the Secondary Education level.
In this context, the Taskforce makes several recommendations on strategy and two (2) under regulations and policy respectively:
- Domicile JSS (Grades 7, 8 and 9) in the secondary school structure.
- Undertake progressive expansion of capacities of existing secondary schools that have adequate land to accommodate more learners in 2023.
- Make provision for primary schools that have adequate infrastructure to establish a Junior Secondary school.
- Merge under-enrolled primary schools, in close proximity, and improve the infrastructure in one to create a Junior Secondary School.
- Develop a framework to facilitate sharing and management of infrastructure among primary and secondary schools that will be established in the same compound.
- Placement to Junior Secondary Schools be based on formative and summative assessments.
- Review the Secondary Education Placement guidelines to provide clear criteria, including the use of assessments for placement of learners in Junior Secondary School.
- Develop a national school transport policy and facilitate establishment of pooled school transport system, where possible, to enhance day schooling.
Need for New Policies and Regulations
The task force recommends that the Ministry make regulations that have provisions for schools to run different options to implement the structure of basic education. For example:
- Stand-alone Pre-Primary 1 and 2;
- Pre-Primary 1 and 2, and Grades 1, 2 and 3;
- Pre-Primary 1 and 2, and Grades 1–6;
- Primary and Junior Secondary School;
- Junior Secondary school only, especially for private schools which may wish to invest only for this level;
- Junior and Senior Secondary schools;
- Senior Secondary School only, especially for private schools which may wish to invest only for this level;
- Whole school, running from Pre-Primary to Senior Secondary School.
The Ministry is also expected to develop a Public–Private Partnership (PPP) policy and a framework for Basic Education to incentivise the private sector to supplement access to basic education.