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Understanding The New 2-6-3-3-3 Education System Set To Kick-Off This May.

It is now official. The new education system developed to replace the 8-4-4 could finally be implemented in May this year on a pilot basis in lower primary schools. It will then be rolled out in January next year covering nursery, Standard One, Two and Three.

After 30 years, the 8-4-4 system will be replaced with a new one that will focus on skills and emphasises on continuous assessment tests (CATs) rather than one-off final year exams.

The system is expected to be rolled out in 2019 for Standard Four to Six and later cover Standard Seven, Eight and Form One in 2020. It will then be extended to Form Two only in 2021, to cover Form Three the following. In 2023, it will be rolled out in Form Four.

The new system replaces the current Standard One to Form Four with Grade 1 to Grade 12.

According to the new 2-6-3-3-3 system, Primary education will be split into two categories; Pre-Primary and Primary Education that will take 2 years and six years respectively after which the students will advance to Junior Secondary (3 years) before joining Senior Secondary for another 3 years.

After the Senior Secondary level, the students will either pursue University education or enroll at a vocational training centre.

The new curriculum will focus on two main areas of learning;
  • new examination format on skills rather than only theory.
  • continuous assessment rather than end of cycle tests (KCPE and KCSE) that promote anxiety, undue pressure and cheating.
Under the new system, assessment will be continuous and more student-centered, gauging learners by their individual abilities and what they want to do with their lives.

“We will not have KCPE and KCSE in the manner in which we have it today. The transition from primary to secondary will be determined by a national assessment developed in conjunction with KNEC,” said Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Director Julius Jwan.

Early Childhood Development stage.
The first two years of the learners’ education will focus on life morals and ethics that will mould the child to be a respectable citizen.

The pre-primary school children will be taught digital and financial literacy, pertinent and contemporary issues as well as life skills in the first two years. They will also be taught how to keep their environment clean, how to be charitable to the less fortunate and religious education activities. At Lower Primary level, learners will be subjected to indigenous language activities, hygiene, environment, religious education, life skills, creative arts and physical education.

Upper Primary.
During the next six years after the Early Childhood Development stage, the learner will be introduced to academics as well as other disciplines that will be identified as benefiting the young kids. Formative assessment from Grades 4-6 will be continuous through individual learners’ portfolios. At this stage, teachers will be paying close attention to the child’s demeanour from where they will be able to gauge their strengths and weaknesses. They will encourage the pupils to put extra effort towards where their strengths lie.

For competence assessment, the learner’s capability to apply knowledge will be gauged, as well as their skills and ability to successfully perform tasks in a defined setting. This will be done through observation or testimonials. In formative assessment, the aim will be to monitor learning and provide ongoing feedback that teachers can use to improve their teaching. This will also assess learners’ attitude and aptitude.

Summative assessment will be used to show the students’ ability to integrate and apply their skills and knowledge in a particular subject. Lastly, assessment in learning will be used to determine individual learner’s weaknesses and strengths.

Under upper primary, learners will be exposed to a broad curriculum and given an opportunity for exploration and experimentation.

According to the framework, at Grade 4, learners will be introduced to the optional subjects offered at upper primary so as to make informed choices at Grade 7.

Foreign languages including Arabic, French German and Chinese will be offered as optional subjects. Compulsory subjects will include social studies, history and geography. Agriculture, home science and creative arts have also been re-introduced back to the system.

A national assessment.
To transit to Grade 7 (Junior Secondary), a national assessment will be administered at Grade 6. The assessment involves learners randomly sampled across the country and assessed using standardised tools, which will then be marked and analysed to get an overall picture of the entire population transiting to Grade 7.

About 80% of this assessment will be based on the learner’s mental ability to process issues, with the remaining 20% gauging the child’s judgement, reasoning and interpretation of issues.

The next six years (3 years Junior and 3 years Senior Secondary) where the students have already been fully imparted with the basic knowledge academically, socially, mentally, religiously and physically, they will now start working upon realising which among the several strengths they have identified is fit for a career. The curriculum will have the learning outcomes that measure the student’s grasp of the tenets of each career path as per their strengths.

At this stage, the teacher will mould the students towards a career path they have identified in the student. The student will now be ripe for final specialisation in polytechnic, university, sports academies, professional colleges etc; depending on their abilities and interests.

At Lower Secondary, learners will be taught Health Education and Pre-Technical and Pre-Career Education as compulsory subjects. Indigenous and foreign languages and Computer Science will be optional.

At this stage, assessment formative evaluation will be carried out throughout and will form 70% of the final grade. The remaining 30% will be from a national examination administered by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC).

Three pathways.
Learners will then be expected to select from three pathways to pursue for three years at senior secondary level: Arts and sports science (Performing Arts, Visual Arts and Sports), Social Science (Languages and Literature, Humanities and Business Studies) and Science, Technical, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Whichever pathway chosen, all learners in Senior Secondary will have to complete 135 hours of community service and physical education. This assessment - pegged on project work, national examination and community service - will also involve parents and other players who will look for opportunities for the learners to apply their competencies in all areas of life.

Teachers will then document a learner’s achievement.

The curriculum will provide opportunities to identify the potential that every learner brings to school and to nurture this potential through the learning pathways provided at senior secondary school. No child should be labelled a failure at the end of basic education.

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