They say if you judge fish by jumping on trees it will never win. Similarly, if you judge a monkey by swimming, it will lose terribly. That is what 8:4:4 system of education has been doing the last 35 years. Since its inception in 1984, the 8:4:4 has harshly judged learners using unfair yardstick. I am writing out of experience. I am a victim of the rogue system and so are many Kenyans out there. The 8:4:4 will be remembered for piling pressure on learners to produce good grades. The end justified the means. As a result, we have so many 8:4:4 graduates who cannot tie shoe laces.
The 8:4:4 system, unlike the new competence based curriculum, judged us collectively and not individually. It forced subjects down our throats regardless of whether we required them in our future careers on not. In retrospect, today I find myself asking the relevance of Art & Craft that I was compelled to study in my primary schooling. Many other Kenyans would not lack a subject they were asked to study yet it was not going to count in choosing future careers. We studied many subjects just to pass time. What a monumental waste of resources! I know I speak for many when I say that 8:4:4 wasted learners.
The introduction of the CBC system of education heralds a new beginning of hope and individualized learning. CBC is a learning and not a teaching system like the 8:4:4. In CBC every learn counts. The system is geared towards unlocking and unleashing full potential in each and every learner. The learner learns to learn as opposed to expecting the teacher to teach. Because the system eliminates summative examinations, it removes the pressure to pass examinations from the learner, the teacher and even the parents. In the old system, most parents could only describe their children using numerical grades. Consequently, grades were yardsticks of parental love. This is no more in CBC. Parents will no longer judge their children by the skill of swimming or jumping on trees.
Every child has to be judged by his or her giftedness or natural talent. The new curriculum seeks to individualize learning. We can’t afford situations where some learners are just statistics in class.
Any system of education that treats the children the same is a very unfair system. This is because there are nine types of intelligence and each individual is wired differently. Schools are supposed to facilitate unleashing and nurturing of talents by providing the right infrastructures and resources. To capitalise on the nine intelligence, learning must be tailored to meet the needs of individual learners. That is how CBC is designed. Schools will no longer churn out failures but innovators and entrepreneur. Graduates who can think for themselves and compete globally.
Schools are not meant to radicalise learners by domesticating their thinking. Schools are supposed to be safe havens to releasing full potentials in each and every learner by liberating their thinking. Schools are not for teaching but instruments to aid learning.
CBC will not need the competition madness and categorisation of schools into national, extra county and what have you. These classifications of schools teaches our students discrimination. Students in national schools look down upon their colleagues in lower cadre schools. National schools do not make one a better human being, or do they? No, they don’t. It is our glorification of these schools that make our children in couty schools feel lesser human beings.
A learner scoring Es in a national schools is more empowered that his colleague scoring As in a day school. Why? Because of idol worshipping national schools. This falacy will now be brought to a stop by CBC.
I laugh when I see national schools teachers celebrating after KCSE examinations! What have they done to celebrate yet they received top cream after KCPE? As matter of fact, national schools degrade our learners.
Schools should be incubators of knowledge and libraries that stir creative thinking and whet one’s appetite for learning. And these are the ideals and tenets of the new curriculum. This is the system that will give us the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Richard Bransons. The three are the world’s best brains and true testimonies that liberative education empowers a learner to go beyond mere grades.
Ashford Gikunda is a MA student in Project Planning & Management at The University of Nairobi.