Focusing on the New Curriculum
The School of Education and Social Sciences is the fastest-growing school with marked growth in student and faculty numbers. The School occupies a strategic position in the wake of the reformed education in Kenya. Of interest to the scholars in the School are the emerging educational issues that have been brought about by the reforms. As a result, the faculty is positioning itself to provide leadership in order to transform learning experiences of our students and communities within the University and impact both policy and practices from without. The School is, therefore, changing from inside out. It is evident that Kenya, like other countries in the world, has endeavoured to align her education and training to meet the unique needs and aspirations of her citizenry as espoused in the Sessional Paper No.1 of 2005 on Policy Framework on Education, Training and Research (Republic of Kenya, 2005) and amplified in the Sessional Paper No. 2 of 2015 on Reforming Education and Training in Kenya (Republic of Kenya, 2015). The social pillar in Kenya’s Vision 2030 singles out education and training as the engine to attain middle-income economy. In addition, the School is central in the realization of the Education for Sustainable Development as well as training global citizens. These policies have informed our University’s Strategic Plan: 2018-2028. In line with the recommendations of the Task Force on the Realignment of the Education Sector to the Constitution of Kenya (2010), Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) has been started in our schools. It is envisioned that the pilot group of the current Grade Three children will join the University in the year 2026 or thereabout. The graduate teachers that we are currently training will be interacting with these Grade Three students in high schools in the year 2024. Therefore, Kenyan universities should be training teachers on Competency-Based Education. The clarion call is for all scholars at the University to unpack Competency-Based Education and begin to align it to the curriculum. The question that begs for answers is, what is Competency-Based Curriculum, Competency-Based Approach or Competency-Based Education? The space in this article will not allow us to unpack the differences. But for purposes of the curious reader, “Competency refers to an integrated combination of knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes (Hoskins & Crick, 2010), which makes a person capable of interacting effectively with his or her environment (White, 1959). Learners become competent in demonstrating ability to integrate and apply knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes in the accomplishment of tasks in their everyday lives (Mohamed & Karuku, 2012). Competencies are therefore recognizable, assessable and evident. Simply put, the learner lives the skills acquired holistically. Therefore, Competency-Based Education denotes skill development. To achieve this, the School has embraced the opportunities provided by the already launched Competency-Based Curriculum. The Chairman, Department of Education Dr Simon Karuku, alongside three other scholars from the School, have won the 1st Vice-Chancellor’s Research Grant, 2019, through their project titled “A Prototype Training Program for Early Years’ Education Teachers for the Implementation of Competency-Based Curriculum in Kenya”. The expected output of this project is training module for the early years’ education teachers that will address the challenges reported from the pre-implementation training, hence the name prototype. The School is progressively changing from inside out as we advance and offer education that generates knowledge that transforms lives, hence shaping the destiny of great nation.