Exams Make a Comeback as Subjects Get Slimmed Down in New CBC Reforms

It seems like Kenyan students may have to face the dreaded exams after all. Yep, those nerve-wracking tests that we all know and love might just be making a comeback. Under the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), the plan was to shift the focus away from exams and put more emphasis on skills and competencies.

However, it looks like that idea might be taking a detour. According to the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER) draft report, learners under the CBC will still have to bust their brains for those high scores in national exams. Looks like the shift from the old 8-4-4 system won’t be as smooth as we thought.

But it’s not all bad news, the bright side is that the number of subjects studied under CBC might actually be reduced. That’s right, folks, fewer subjects to worry about! Parents and some education big shots have been up in arms about the burden placed on learners, so this reduction could be a welcomed change.

Now, let’s talk about the proposed changes. If these recommendations get the green light, the previous plan of having 60% of the assessment based on school-based assessments and only 40% on national exams will be flipped. Primary school learners will now have to fight tooth and nail for that 60% in national exams administered in Grade 9. The remaining 40% will come from school-based assessments. As for the senior school students in Grade 12, they’ll have to work their socks off for a whopping 70% in national exams, with a mere 30% left for school-based assessments.

These reforms are shaking things up, my friends. The number of subjects taught in schools will be reduced, and the final exams will carry more weight. It’s like a rollercoaster ride, but with textbooks and scantron sheets.

Now, let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of the proposed changes. The draft report suggests that learners will sit the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment at the end of Grade 6 to monitor their progress. Don’t worry, though, this assessment won’t determine their fate or influence where they go for junior secondary. It’s just a way to keep tabs on how they’re doing.

When it comes to junior and senior secondary, the final exams will play a significant role, but they won’t be the only factor in determining the learners’ fate. The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) will administer the final assessment, which might undergo a name change to Kenya National Assessment Council under these reforms. At the end of junior secondary, learners will face a final assessment, making up 60% of their final score. The remaining 40% will be from assessments at the end of Grades 7 and 8. It’s like piecing together a puzzle to get that final mark.

But wait, there’s more! Grade 12 students in senior secondary school will also have a summative examination similar to KCSE. This exam will carry a whopping 70% of their final mark, leaving only 30% for the School Based Assessment and the competencies they’ve shown. It’s like a game show where every point counts.

If these proposals make it to the final report, we’ll be witnessing a significant shift from the original vision of the CBC. The goal was to eliminate the high stakes of exams and make transitioning between levels smoother. Well, it looks like students will still have to work their socks off to reach that next level, just like in the good ol’ 8-4-4 days.

So, folks, if all goes well, the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) will have one year to revamp the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) and provide valuable feedback to stakeholders. They’ll also need to come up with guidelines for placing learners into different career pathways at senior school. It’s like a race against time for the KNEC, but we have faith in their ability to pull it off.

Now, let’s talk about the bright side of these reforms. The number of subjects under CBC will be reduced. Hallelujah! That’s music to the ears of parents and learners alike. The team behind these changes wants to rationalize the learning areas and get rid of the subject overload. We’re talking about fewer subjects, folks. It’s like decluttering your closet and getting rid of those subjects that you never really liked anyway.

But before you start celebrating, there’s a catch. Some of the proposed subjects under CBC, like Mandarin, French, and German, failed to take off due to a lack of teachers and learning materials. It’s a shame, really, but hey, we can’t have it all.

So, to sum it all up, if these draft recommendations make it to the final report, we’ll see a mix of old and new. Exams will make a comeback, but the burden of subjects will be lightened. It’s like a seesaw of changes in the education system.

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) will have six months to review the Basic Education Curriculum Framework (BECF) and make necessary amendments. And within one year, they’ll provide guidelines on textbooks and curriculum support materials. So, teachers, get ready for some fresh and evaluated textbooks!


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