Evaluating the Quality of Implementation Competency-Based Curriculum in Kenya: Evidence of Effective Lessons

November 15, 2022

Brenda Wawire and Elisheba Kiru

The national curriculum is a critical component in education systems as it provides the framework and guidelines of the core knowledge in key subject disciplines those students in institutions of basic, secondary, higher, and tertiary education need to learn to become educated citizens and to participate effectively in civic engagement. Since independence, the education sector in Kenya has had several curriculum reforms as the government continually emphasizes improving access and quality of education through a relevant curriculum. The ministry of education is intensifying efforts to increase the competency-based curriculum (CBC) launched in 2017 as the 8-4-4 continues to be phased out. Several indicators of challenges in implementing CBC include feasibility with local contexts, inadequate resources, and limited teacher training opportunities. There is a dearth of empirical evidence that sheds light on what is working well in the CBC implementation. In collaboration with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, we plan to address this research gap through a sequential exploratory study that seeks to examine four issues i). the extent to which teachers are knowledgeable about pedagogical content knowledge in the CBC in the science, language activities, and mathematics content areas? ii). How do teachers implement the CBC curriculum versus what is stipulated or mandated by the ministry of education? In addition, whether teachers achieve the desired objectives of the CBC? If yes, how, and if no, why? iii) How do the current CBC implementation practices promote equity and inclusivity in education for girls and students with special needs? iv) Explore parents’ understanding of their roles and responsibilities and the curriculum developers, MOE, and teachers’ expectations of parental involvement? The initial step in this research will be to conduct a rapid synthesis using available grey literature to understand the general framework of CBC implementation in Kenya.  In this exploratory phase of the study, we will utilize a qualitative approach anchored within a phenomenological approach to examine what works well in the ongoing CBC implementation in Kenya. Primary data will target the pre-primary, lower primary, and middle school education institutions in six counties (Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, Samburu, Kitui, Nakuru, and West Pokot). Participants of the study comprise teachers, students, parents, and officials from the Ministry of Education, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Kenya National Union of Teachers, and Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers. Data sources include focus group discussions, key informant interviews, classroom observations, and curriculum materials.  Phase one of the study is funded by the Human Development Innovation fund for early career researchers. We are soliciting external funding to conduct more robust national representative quantitative research, which will contribute to understanding what works well in the CBC implementation. Both quantitative and qualitative data will facilitate comparison, validation, and corroboration of findings, thus allowing us to gain deeper insights into what is working well in the areas mentioned above of CBC implementation.