Change in the Kenya national school system: Are the teachers on board?

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The Kenyan government recently announced plans to change the national school system from 8-4-4 to a 2-6-3-3-3 structure, similar to the East African system established before.

One of the academic changes proposed was to make the system less exam oriented and create diverse forms of examining students.

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In anticipation of the changing school system, many have varying responses, a number being teachers who largely support the structural conversion.

Mr Calisto Asembo, Science teacher at Kisumu girls says: “It should be more practical… as long as you are able to recall you can pass, [it] should be accumulative”.

He explains that the current system only relies on examination as recognition of academic success, but this can lead to students becoming disinterested in wider learning as they will not be tested on it.

“They do not want to know if it is not on the syllabus” Mr Asembo said.

Miss Jane, of Makutano Primary school in Pokot county, says children with a lower IQ are able to pass simply because they understand how to pass exams.

“Some have a low IQ yet they can pass as they have manipulative skills”.

She suggests that varying opportunities should be provided for children dependant on their skill-set, and if they are more academically inclined, those facilities be available for them, and if they are more practically inclined, the system sets up that they are able to do so.

Miss Jane also says that changes should be made to both student and teaching systems.

She says: “They should also motivate teachers by promoting them… when you want to apply for a promotion [it’s] hard… it can lead to teachers being frustrated in the job”.

Mr Asembo agrees, saying that within the teaching system re-training is required, which should be what the government provides, although new textbooks are not necessary as the facts themselves will not change.

Teachers feel as though the changes should be made to both teachers and students syllabus’ in order to create a greater overall education system.

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