The targets of the Kenya Primary Education Development (PRIEDE) project funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to the tune of Sh. 8 billion in line with the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) has borne fruits.
The Director for Projects Coordination and Delivery (DPCD) at the Ministry of Education (MOE) Sebestian Owanga said the project, which has run for the past five years, involved training teachers on effective Early Grade Mathematics (EGM) teaching methodologies, training headteachers and Board of Management (BOM) chairpersons for prudent financial management as well as provision of EGM textbooks to 6 million grade one and two pupils.
Mr. Owanga, who spoke while on the assessment as well as closing mission of the project in Kakamega county through class observation sessions, he said the mathematics teachers can now ensure that they actively engage, infuse ethics and empower the learners during the lessons.
He said that the project has ensured adequate supply of text books and the learner to book ratio is one to one.
The DPCD stated that the newly adopted teaching methodologies employ the Competence Based Assessment (CBA) which is learner-friendly where they described as either Meeting Expectation (M.E), Approaching Expectation (A.E) or Below Expectation (B.E).
“The CBA tool has discarded the use of derogatory words such as poor or weak that would lower the self-esteem of pupils with low competence,” he observed.
He added the teachers have shifted from the pedagogy that emphasizes quantity to that of quality where learners are now engaged during the lesson, taught morals and at the end of the lesson they all empowered basing on their varied abilities.
He called on the head teachers to ensure that all the pupils are registered in the National Educational Management Information System (NEMIS) as capitation disbursement will be based on this information.
The Director Teacher Education (DTE) Margaret Mwandale said they are encouraging collaborative teaching and learning where two teachers handle a lesson together and the learners are paired up.
Mwandale stated that at first, they trained selected teachers in counties but through the School Based Teacher Support (SBTS) initiative, the trained ones have taught the others.
The DTE said their mission was to look at school enrollment, staffing, performance trend, financial management and community involvement in school activities.
She stated that parents and the community are key stakeholders in the implementation of CBC therefore they should part and parcel of the school management.
The Director observed that the introduction of the Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development (TPAD) tool has boosted teacher performance by reducing incidents of absenteeism.
She said as PRIEDE project closes, the next target is the teacher training colleges where they intend to ensure that the trainees are taught CBC-inclined pedagogical skills.
The other members of the delegation were Elizabeth Owiti from Elimu Coalition (EC) and Kananu Murungi from the directorate of Special Needs Education (SNE).
Joseph Muhombe, the headteacher of St. Martin mixed boarding primary school for the deaf in Mumias West Sub County, lauded the MOE, GPE and other development partners for the efforts of uplifting education standards in the country.
Mr. Muhombe, however, disclosed that only grade one and two classes have adequate mathematics text books but the other learning areas including English, environment and hygiene there is a shortage of textbooks.
The head teacher stated that grade three, four and five as well as standard six, seven and eight (last 8-4-4 system lot) have limited text books in all learning areas.
He said the school has an enrollment of 370 against 22 teachers, the he said is inappropriate as a class is supposed to hold 10 learners for a lesson.
The school head complained that they are forced to admit Pre-Primary 1 pupils (age 4) because the parents do not know the sign language to teach the children.
“The little children are admitted into boarding because the parents or guardians do not know the Kenya Sign Language (KSL) and failure to introduce the child to it at an appropriate age would make them be completely unable to learn it,” he explained adding that in some instances the parents release the children for fear of stigmatization by the community.
The team also visited Kakamega primary in Kakamega Central Sub County and Eshitare primary in Butere, Eregi mixed in Ikolomani (regular schools) as well as St. Emillian Eregi primary for the deaf.
All in all, the CBC programme will go a long way in molding all round learners by instilling the ethical values and equipping them with the desired competencies.