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The one thing that all Kenyans can agree on is that the country is always transforming. We see this in the political landscape where every other year we have new alliances and new manifestos. In Nairobi, the stretch of Mombasa road between the Nyayo Stadium and the airport is always transforming and right now, the biggest transformation of them all is happening along that road, with the construction of the express way above the current road. Those two examples can be seen as metaphors for our Kenyan society. As a people, we are not afraid of change. In fact, we seek it all the time.

On the educational front Kenya has had several transformations and the biggest one of them all was the transformation from the 8-4-4 system into the 2-6-6-3 system which came into effect the years 2016 and 2017. This transformation was necessitated by the many changes that had happened in the Kenyan society since the launch of the 8-4-4 system of education in 1985.

The transformation was informed by the work of a task force chaired by a certain Prof. Odhiambo, which in 2012, produced the ‘Report of the Task Force on the Re-alignment of the Education Sector to the Kenya Vision 2030 and Constitution of Kenya 2010’. The report led to the development of Sessional Paper (important Government document containing reports or bills presented to parliament) No. 2 of 2015 titled ‘Reforming Education and Training in Kenya’. In a nutshell, the sessional paper proposed reforms to the education system that would ensure that Kenya’s education system focused on developing the potential of every learner.

Therefore, Kenya decided to transform its education system as result of having a new constitution in 2010 and the Vision 2030, which required a skillset and mindset that the existing education system could not provide.

So, what did the curriculum reform process propose?

At the basic education level (pre-primary school level to secondary school level), the vision is to produce ‘engaged’, ‘empowered’ and ‘ethical’ citizens. This to be accomplished through a ‘visionary curriculum’ and the provision of excellent teaching environments and resources. Teachers are to be trained and supported to be reflective and professional and focused on coaching and facilitating as opposed to lecturing for rote memorization. Parents and the wider community are also to be deliberately involved in a learner’s development. This will lead to learning being relevant and contextualized to every learner and in turn they develop into confident, independent people, capable of contributing to society.

In 2021, Kenya will move into Grade 5 in the implementation of the 2-6-6-3 system and we continue to wish the Ministry of Education and all the stakeholders the very best as they implement this change.

We would like to end this article with the following questions for you to consider. Do you think that the reasons for transforming the education system were relevant? Have you seen early signs of this transformation since implementation started from Grade 1 to Grade 4? How has your role as a teacher changed? How about you as a parent? What do we need to change in the process of implementing this new educational system?

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