Curriculum Development: What role does the community play in the implementation of the 8-4-4 curriculum in Kenya?



6a iii). Discuss the role the community plays in the implementation of the 8-4-4 curriculum in Kenya.

Voluntary Agencies as Curriculum Implementers

In the African context, the curriculum for basic education can no longer be conceived as the sole responsibility of professional educators. This is particularly true in the implementation stage. Voluntary Agencies such as the Church, Women’s Organizations, Women’s Associations, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and Entertainment Groups of every description have a legitimate role to play in implementing some aspects of the curriculum, particularly in the affective domain. Cultural activities which are initiated by the school may be extended and refined in the community around the school. The integrated primary school staff should be afforded every opportunity to each voluntary agency to contribute positively to the advancement of their local community socially, economically, culturally, and intellectually.

Parents as Curriculum Implementors

It has been assumed for too long that the unschooled (African) parents have no role to play in curriculum implementation. On the contrary, their role is crucial in the continuing process of value-orientation and attitude formation. Being the natural and immediate “reference group” for their children, the parents’ influence in cultural value is often unchallenged. It is in the home that the children learn effectively such important social and cultural values as personal relationships, hospitality, generosity, comparison, personal hygiene, etiquette, love, thriftiness etc.

The current search for cultural identity should emphasize respect for education received through instructional materials. One of the final products of each curriculum project is the production of several types of instructional materials. If the teacher develops his own curriculum, materials he is likely to utilize products easily available in his environment for the preparation of the learning materials. If the curriculum is developed by the central institute like Kenya Institute of Education (K.I.E) to serve a large population, items of various types will be assembled in a package or kit for easy dissemination. What does curriculum kit contain? The most simple form of instruction materials produced by the curriculum team is a teachers’ guide, composed of suggestions and instructions for the teacher on what to do in the classroom. This is a very important item because it is necessary to inform the teacher of the programme’s goals so that they can make use of the programme adequately. Generally, the programme kit will also contain individual study materials in the form of textbooks, worksheets and supplementary materials, such as demonstration charts, slides, and equipment; which are also included. Finally, a programme may also have components which are deposited in regional centres to be borrowed by schools for classroom use.

The Community

Curriculum implementation is most effectively implemented when the community understands and supports it when facilities are available for desirable school organization and learning activities. There is also need for appropriate materials and supportive personnel to assist teachers. Two key factors are necessary to the implementation of the curriculum.

Financial support and other physical facilities Community’s theoretical support for change.

The financial aspect of curriculum implementation is dealt with as a priority of the community. The community’s support creates a healthy climate of understanding and encouragement prevailing in the community. Most important here are the attitudes held by parents because such attitudes towards the programme are easily transmitted to the child for whom the changes are intended.

School community communication needs to go beyond mere information which includes the maintenance of a continuous dialogue that enables the community to understand the rationale behind such a change; to understand the educational problems and procedures involved, and in many instances to provide direct assistance for curriculum implementation in the form of resource persons, school volunteers, and any other personal forms of contributions to the effort of the school.

Preparation of parents and the community is therefore seen as an important element even at the planning stage. Also during the needs assessment stage, parents and the  community or what may be referred to as the lay person will have been involved extensively in assessing their needs as far as the school curriculum is concerned. Whatever needs are identified and written in the form of objectives for the new curriculum, should be discussed with lay people if for nothing else to keep them in touch with what is happening. This exercise is what Kenya Institute of Education refers to as familiarization.

The main objectives of this exercise is:

    • To explain how the new curriculum sets out to achieve in relation to national development goals;
    • To explain how the new curriculum provides greater individual benefits than its predecessor;
    • To describe changes in organization and structure of the new educational system;
    • At specific levels, to explain why pupils course offerings, say in secondary schools, differ for various groups of students;
    • To gain the co-operation of parents and the public.

Undertaking the familiarization exercise is often necessary to use all means possible to reach as many people as possible. This may be done through weekly radio programmes explaining the new curriculum in the simplest terms possible and outlining its new objectives, where showing visual examples of the new curriculum in use. Documentary films should be produced for use with mobile cinemas. The local news papers in as many languages as possible, should be utilized to provide information on the new curriculum. In some cases personal contact may be necessary.




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