Curriculum Development: Can you Scrutinize the various curriculum innovations in Kenya?



9a ii). Scrutinize the various curriculum innovations in Kenya

Curriculum Innovations in Kenya

New Primary Approach (NPA)

The New Primary Approach was an innovation in the teaching of English in Primary Schools. The programme was initiated as a result of poor performance among the Asian and African children in Kenya. Plans were made to start the programme in  Asian Schools first. Four years after the centre was opened, the Oxford University Press launched the PEAK SERIES publications a groups of books in English designed to meet the needs of Asian children in East Africa who begin their primary education in English without prior knowledge of the language. The Ford Foundation provided printing equipment, tape-recorders, and additional staff.

By 1963, the New Primary Approach had picked up very much. Teacher Training Colleges introduced the NEW SERIES English Medium. The objective of this special centre was to educate through the medium of English but not to teach English. By this time (1963) the newly independent Kenya commended on the programme by saying that, the government has been actively attacking the problem of standards of primary education from the area of teaching methods and the curriculum. It went on to say that one of the most promising ventures in the history of education in Kenya has been the development of the New Primary Approach in the primary schools. The essence of the programme is that the old concept of the child passively receiving instruction from the teacher should be replaced by a system in which the pupil develops through active and full participation in the education process.

There was a slow down on the program by 1970 because of lack of uniformity in the quality of the NPA program. Supervision was inadequate; classroom and teaching facilities were very poor. The government decided not to open more NPA classes.

The New Primary Approach influenced the teaching of vernacular languages and the General Methods of K.I.E produced TKK series of vernacular readers which were very useful pamphlets on the approach to reading, and a variety of other materials designed on

N.P.A lines.

Science Education Programme for Africa (SEPA)

The Science Education Programme for Africa was unusual project since its inception in 1971, when the African Primary Science Programme (APSP) handed over its responsibilities to it. The aim of SEPA was not only the production of curriculum materials, but also it attempted to build into teachers at all levels of educational system the ability to make effective decisions about curriculum.

The project influenced the teaching of primary science in Kenya through the following objectives:

  1. Promotion effective ways of learning science by utilizing the child’s environment
  2. Developing and introducing new and relevant science curricula materials into African schools
  3. Establishing institutions in Africa concerned mainly with the furtherance of the renewal of science curricula
  4. Encouraging Kenyans to write more science materials

Kenyans Primary Mathematics Project (KPMP)

The Kenya Primary Mathematics Project encountered a number of problems similar to those encountered by the school Mathematics Study Group (SMSG) and the School Mathematics of East Africa (SMEA).

Some of the problems that this project encountered were:

  1. Negligence of making mathematics practical
  2. Isolation of mathematics from the physical and social sciences by putting too much emphasis on such topics as set theory, symbolic logic abstract, algebra, matrices and Bolean Algebra.
  3. Lack of sufficient tools of evaluation because Kenya found that the Entebbe project (SMEA) which was similar to the SMSG failed to meet the needs of the country.
  4. Lack of sufficient or proper trials.
  5. Teachers were not given chances of developing materials
  6. In general this project filed to achieve its objectives.

The only major significant success that this project made was production of plenty of mathematics materials through workshops. Also commercial publishers entered into the business of producing many books on new mathematics.

He reading below takes us into the historical development of the KPMP and the criticisms the project received during its implementation.

This reading comes from an occasional paper written by Professor George Eshiwani. He discusses the origin of the project and gives some of the criticisms that were given to the project.

Kenya Primary Mathematics (KPM)

In 1964, a decision was taken to begin along term project to develop a new series of mathematics in Kenya Primary Schools, it was intended to use the Entebbe Mathematics series for one year in each standard, beginning with standard 1 in 1965, and then each year to replace this book with an experimental Kenya text which would lead to a definite Kenya series. Twenty-five experimental schools in Nairobi and Kisumu Districts were chosen. In-service programmes for the teachers in these schools were conducted and the Teacher Training Colleges were visited on regular basis to acquaint tutors with the new developments. The project proceeded more or less as planned until 1968 but in 1969 shortage of staff the mathematics section of the Kenya Institute of Education, which had been entrusted with the production of the new materials, resulted in the experimental editions of the books being dropped.

In 1970 the decisions were taken to extend the new series, then named as Kenya Primary Mathematics, to all schools in Kenya in January 1971. Curriculum work that had to be undertaken by the Kenya Institute of Education to meet this new situation was gigantic. The KPM textbooks had to be written hurriedly and passed on to schools.

As in the case of the SMEA programme, the content in the KPM consisted of more than 60 per cent of the topics from the traditional mathematics (e.g. Highway series). There were few “new” topics such as sets, bases, probability, and statistics, transformation, geometry and clock arithmetic. The major differences between the KPM texts and the traditional text was in the presentation of the subject matter.


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