9.4 Show the various factors that influence curriculum change in Kenya.
Factors That Influence Curriculum Change in Kenya
1. Political Influence
According to Omondi (2009) politics influences all aspects of human life as it involves power and how resources are utilized. It has to do with leadership and decision-making. When there is a change of government, politics also do change. A political party in power influence the kind of education offered in a country. For example, National Rainbow Coalition party (NARC) on ascension to power in 2003, reviewed the education system and introduced free primary education. Through political activism many civil societies and religious organisations exert pressure for curriculum change. A good example is the reduction of examinable subjects because of pressure the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT). The president may also use his or her political office to issue directives or decrees that may influence curriculum change and the education system. Judiciary may also influence curriculum change by its interpretation of sections of the Education Act. For example, the use of corporal punishment in schools to aid curriculum delivery, for example, has been declared a violation of children’s rights.
2. Government Policies
A government may come up with their plans and strategies of addressing educational, social and economic issues. These plans and strategies are called policies. These policies influence educational goals and objectives, organisation of curriculum content, Instructional strategies, evaluation criteria and overall educational system. The government policies in Kenya that have influenced curriculum change began at the beginning of the 20th century. These policies are:
i) The J. Nelson Frazer (1909) Report
A leading educationist, J. Nelson Frazer was invited from India by the colonial government to study the education system of Kenya in 1908. His recommendations changed the curriculum by identifying three different types of education to be studied by the three races in Kenya at the time. These were Europeans, Asians and Africans. European and Asian children were to get an academic type of education while African children were to receive an industrial and agricultural type of education so as to provide cheap labour in the farms.
ii) First official policy on education for the Africans
Education policy in British Tropical Africa (1925), recommended African education to be adapted to the needs of the local community while considering the best aspects of society that prepares the individual for the changing world. The policy emphasised the provision of technical and vocational training for Africans.
iii) The Language Policy
In 1976, The National Committee on Education Objectives and Policy (NCEOP) popularly known as the Gachathi Report led to the formulation of the language policy in Kenya. This policy influenced the language of instruction in the first three years of primary education or lower primary. It recommended that children be taught using the language of the catchments area. English was introduced as a subject for Primary. This is also extended to ECDE curriculum implementation.
iv) The Presidential Working Party on the Second University in Kenya (McKay Commission) of 1982
McKay Commission’s recommendations changed the education system from 7-4-2-3 to 8-4-4. This also saw new subjects such as Art and Craft, Music, Business Education, Agriculture and Home Science being introduced in the education curriculum.
v) Sessional Papers No. 6 of 988 and No.l of 2005
After the Kamunge Report of 1988, the Sessional Paper No. 6 of 1988 reviewed primary education curriculum and reduced the subjects’ content. This led to less emphasis being put on vocational subjects for they were made non-examinable. The government through Sessional Paper No. 6 of 1988 and Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2005 made major strides towards the development and promotion of early childhood development and education curriculum in Kenya.
3. Economic Influence
Economics entails production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. These processes in economics lead to the development of any country. An effective curriculum at any level should equip learners with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that help them to participate efficiently in the development of the country. Any curriculum that does not lead to the acquisition of these skills, should be revised. For an economic growth, various human resources are required. These include teachers, accountants, economists and entrepreneurs. The curriculum offered in a country should aid in the development of these skills. Curriculum development and implementation requires massive economic resources like finances, human resources and curriculum support materials. The cost of curriculum development and implementation should be sustained by the country’s economic status. If the curriculum is too expensive to be developed and implemented, then it must be revised. A country should ensure that reference materials and curriculum support materials are affordable to parents.
4. Technological Influence
A good curriculum is the one that produce learners with the necessary technological know-how, skills, values and attitudes for a country’s industrial and economic development. A curriculum does not live up to the expectations of the country’s technological development, and then it needs to be revised. In Kenya, a curriculum must help in realization of vision 2030.
5. Social Influence
A curriculum should address the social concerns of the society. A curriculum should make members useful and productive members of a society. A curriculum should incorporate the culture so that children get opportunity’s to be aware of and appreciate their culture. It should help children to identify the good or bad aspects of culture. For example, the good aspects that they should learn from the culture include the value of respect, caring for others, co-operation, sharing, love, patience and hard work should be encouraged. Culture is dynamic and therefore, the curriculum should change with time. The curriculum should deal with the social problems facing the society. These include HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, elections, tribalism and good neighbourliness.