The new 2-6-6-3 curriculum which has replaced the 32-year-old 8-4-4 system is being rolled out , marking the second time Kenya is adopting a new curriculum since 1985 when the country changed her system of education from 7-4-2-3 system to 8-4-4 system. The 1985 model comprised 7 years of primary education, 4 years of lower secondary, 2 years of upper secondary (form 5-6) and 3 years for a university course which tend to closely resemble the newly adopted system but purely skills based and with a proper emphasis on Technology.
The system was phased out because it was deemed unsuitable for the changing aspirations of Kenyans and the labour market which is strongly embracing technology. The program laid emphasis on academics as opposed to orienting learners for employment. It also failed to cater for the critical pre-primary level of schooling for children under the age of six.
The 8-4-4 system was adopted to seal those gaps but the curriculum soon came under criticism for churning out school leavers suited only for white-collar jobs. The argument has been that the curriculum neglected the sectors which accelerate economic growth such as agriculture, construction, and fishing.
An influx of white-collar job trainees over time created a skills imbalance in the job market, resulting in one of Kenya’s biggest obstacles to development – youth unemployment, which currently is over eight per cent.
The new curriculum has been touted as the ultimate remedy to limitations identified in the 8-4-4 system because it is entirely skills-based.
Experts are of the view that it will enable learners to develop beyond academics and also focus on how best they can use their specific talents to make a living. The needs of special needs children have also been incorporated in the curriculum which will integrate ICT at all levels of education. “Community impact program is well placed in the new curriculum, we are now directed to give more time for Children to participate in sports. I am ready to give you more time to engage my pupils in your sessions”. Mr. Josphat Director, Splash Community School.