Teachers not properly trained to handle CBC, says UASU

UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga, National Organizing Secretary Onesmus Mutio and other union members during a press conference on November 7. Photo Courtesy

The implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) has been grossly undermined by the inability of teachers to connect to the new curriculum design as they were not prepared well enough to handle its concepts, now charges University Academic Staff Union (UASU).

In his paper titled A Critical Analysis of the Challenges Facing Effective Implementation of Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) in Kenya: Implication of Financing Policy,  UASU Secretary General Dr Constantine Wasonga Opiyo said the problem is not CBC but the disconnect between the learner and the delivery of the curriculum.

“Some teachers went through 7-4-2-3, which I did, while some went through the 8-4-4. Where are teachers for this CBC?” he wondered.

He said that those who are teaching there are doing it through guess work as they are not equipped with the necessary tools having gone through different systems.

“The Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) ought to have come up with a system to change the teachers so that when they graduate, they could be competent enough to implement the system. You are teaching the Competency-Based Curriculum; are you competent in the first place?” posed Wasonga.

He said the first step should have been the training of teachers to help them understand the curriculum design before the implementation phase so that it is accepted and embraced.

“So if you want to implement CBC effectively, let the teachers be prepared and prepare adequately. Let the teachers first of all understand what they are supposed to implement. That’s where we got it wrong. Teachers have not prepared for the implementation of this new system,” he said.

He wondered how the system was going to succeed if the very teacher does not believe in what they are teaching.

“When this system was being introduced, you could see teachers resisting. Like I can remember, teachers in Kakamega were being arrested. How can you force a teacher to go to class to teach or implement a system he or she doesn’t understand?” he asked.

In May 2019, Teachers Service Commission (TSC) interdicted about 160 teachers in eight counties to crackdown on those resisting the new education curriculum.

The Commission accused them of insubordination, infamous conduct and incitement during the training of tutors on CBC across the country.

Inadequate facilities

According to Wasonga, CBC is faced with scarce resources as it is more expensive than 8-4-4, suggesting that the government should invest in education by giving adequate facilities, resources and enough teachers.

Dr Wasonga stated that the recent move by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reform (PWPER) to domicile Junior Secondary School (JSS) in primary school worsened the situation as there was no infrastructure in most parts of the country.

“If you are learning under a tree it means you have inadequacy; then how can you be competent?” he once again revisited the question of competence during the one-day conference held at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) on October 18, 2023.

Last year, the government constructed a total of 10,000 classes in public secondary schools at a cost of Ksh4.5 billion, which were done in two phases in readiness to host JSS.

The don observed that insufficient instructional materials disadvantaged learners from humbled backgrounds.

“The rich can get the instructional materials. If you want to develop and introduce a new system or curriculum, first of all ensure that the instructional materials are ready,” he said.

Making it better

The Maseno University’s Department of Educational Management and Foundations Lecturer pointed out other shortfalls to include lack of parental involvement, sluggish training of teachers, and non-involvement of universities.

“When this curriculum was being introduced, Deans of Faculties of Education were not involved; they were involved later where the train had left the station,” he said.

He recommended that the government and policymakers should reduce the number of documents to be filled to the bare minimum to allow teachers concentrate on learning and teaching.

Further, the government should increase the number of schools and facilities at Ward, constituency and county levels for intermediate and technical training, and also invest more in Information Communication Technology (ICT).

He recommended that the government should always strive to employ more teachers and lecturers to improve learner:instructor ratios, and particularly at JSS.

By Our Reporter

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