How is CBC different to 8-4-4? How does the new curriculum effect my child? What are the new competencies? Have KCPE Exams been abolished?These are just a few of the questions we receive every day about the CBC from parents and teachers, and so we thought it would be a great idea to answer the some of the most common questions here.

1. Why do we need a new curriculum?

The CBC is designed to connect with Vision 2030 to help our economy grow and our society flourish. From an economic perspective, CBC aims to fix the disconnect between the world of school and the world of work. We need more creative workers, able to think for themselves, with 21st century skills to make Kenya compete on the global stage.

From a social perspective, KICD aims to support every child to become an “engaged, empowered and ethical citizen.”

What does this mean for our schools? It means a shift of focus from teaching-for-exams to the continuous development of every learner; from lecturing students, to hands-on learning; and from memorising facts to understanding and learning in groups.

2. Does the Competency Based Curriculum affect my child?

The new curriculum is being rolled out one year at a time. The first CBC cohort piloted in 2017, and they will complete Grade 12 (currently Form 4) in 2028. If your child is already in Class 5 in 2020, they will be the last cohort to use 8-4-4, taking Form 4 in 2027.

The CBC will be rolled out over 10 years

3. What are the main differences between 8-4-4 and CBC?

The first difference is a change of emphasis from the tradition of chalk-and-talk teaching, to focusing on the student, by learning in groups and not just memorising facts, but developing competencies, and understanding core values and important issues.

The second difference is that school is being restructured from 8-4-4 to 2-6-3-3-3. All students take 2 years of Pre-primary, then 6 years of Primary, and then 3 years of Junior School. If you pass the Grade 9 exams at 15 at the end of Junior School, you can then go on to take 3 years of Senior School. University under CBC will be just 3 years instead of 4.

From 8-4-4 to 2-6-3-3-3

4. What are the Core Competencies?

There are 7 Core Competencies that are intended to help individuals fulfil their potential both in school and in life.

They are: Communication and Collaboration (working together), Self-efficacy, (having the confidence to do difficult things), Critical Thinking and Problem Solving (using logic, evidence, and seeing different perspectives), Creativity and Imagination (coming up with ideas and turning them into real creations), Citizenship (understanding the rights, privileges and duties of every citizen), Digital Literacy, (using devices to access and create information) and Learning to Learn (being curious to learn every day).

5. What are the PCIs – Pertinent and Contemporary Issues?

The Pertinent and Contemporary Issues are designed to make sure education is relevant to the needs of society and the economy. The original 6 PCI areas have since been reduced to 3.

They are: Global Citizenship (eg peace, integrity and human rights), Health (HIV and AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse, and lifestyle diseases), Life Skills and Values (life skills, values and sexuality), Social and Economic Issues (eg the environment, disaster risk reduction, safety and security, radicalisation, poverty eradication, gender and animal welfare).

6. What are the CBC values?

The values are listed in the Curriculum Designs for each subject. They include Respect, Responsibility, Unity, Love, Cooperation, Patriotism, Integrity, and Peace.

7. When do students take exams in CBC?

The current KCPE exams for Class 8 will be replaced by a Grade 9 exams under CBC. The last KCPE Exams will be sat in 2023 by Class 8. Under CBC, all students will progress from 6 years of Primary School to 3 years of Junior School. They will then take national exams at the end of Junior School, in Grade 9.

The last KCSE will be sat in 2027, and this will be replaced by Grade 12 exams in 2028.

8. What choices do students have at 12 years old?

At 12 years old, after 6 years of Primary, students enter Junior School for 3 years. The core subjects are: English, Kiswahili (or Kenyan Sign Language for the deaf), Mathematics, Science, Health Education, Pre Technical and Pre Career Education, Social Studies, Religious Education, Business Studies, Agriculture, Life Skills, and Sports.

They can also choose one or two subjects from: Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Home Science, Computer Science, and Languages (foreign, indigenous, and Kenyan Sign Language).

9. What choices do students have at 15 years old?

At 15, students join Senior School for 3 years, and can then focus on one of 3 pathways: Arts and Sports Science, Social Sciences, and STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

If you choose Arts and Sports Science you must then choose one of 3 tracks: Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Sports.

The 3 tracks for Social Science are: Languages and Literature, Humanities, and Business Studies.

There are 4 tracks for STEM: Pure Science, Applied Science, Technical and Engineering and Careers and Technology Studies.

At 15 years old, students choose a pathway and track

10. Can you speak CBC?

There’s a whole new language to get used to with CBC that can take some getting used to. But the aim is very simple: to shift the emphasis from the teacher to the learner.

For example, “Teaching Aids” are referred to as “Learning Resources” and “Learning Objectives” become “Learning Outcomes”.

An objective is the teacher’s intention for the lesson, it is what the teacher sets out to accomplish. An outcome is the learning experience of the student, it is what the student accomplishes.

The goal is to shift the focus from giving teachers tools to teach, to giving students tools to learn.

Here are some of the most common CBC abbreviations:

  • CBC – Competency Based Curriculum
  • PCIs – Pertinent and Contemporary Issues
  • STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths
  • ICT – Information and Communication Technologies
  • SEN – Special Educational Needs
  • KSL – Kenyan Sign Language
8-4-4 LanguageCBC Language
Class and FormGrade
Subject AreaLearning Area
Learning ObjectivesLearning Outcomes
Teaching AidsLearning Resources

In our next blog we’ll be looking at some of the issues around CBC that have been raised by parents and teachers.

We hope this helps to clear up some of the common questions around CBC, but if you have any more, please let us know in the comments below.

10 Things you need to know about CBC

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