The Teachers’ Strike continues on and as the unions negotiate for better pay, the current education might be scrapped altogether. According to Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, the system could morph into an unfamiliar 2-6-3-3-3 system where early childhood and lower primary education; middle primary and lower secondary are differentiated as distinguished stages of the education system.
As the nation’s new curriculum reforms are yet to be enforced, we can only look back and reflect on what we will miss and will not miss most about the 8-4-4 system.
1.Literature and Fasihi Lessons
The lessons spent reading aloud the literary set books were great memories for most. Though the texts were challenging, the classes allowed students to improve their reading skills as well as laugh at those who could not manage to get their words out. Books such as “The River and The Source”, “The River Between,” “Mayai Wazari Wa Maradhi” and even “Kifo Kisimani” were among the compulsory books for secondary students. Studied and analyzed, these books formed a critical part of a student’s high school experience.
2. Drama Festivals
Many past students reminisce about the times of old, when secondary students went for drama festivals to prove their acting prowess and exchange post addresses. The anticipation that built up to receive a letter and the lucrative business of calligraphy writing for lovers in various boarding schools, was quite the spectacle. With the new reforms, it is difficult to say if occasions such as the drama festivals will be experiences students will enjoy once again, but for those who lived through it, it a time to be remembered.
3. Cramming Culture
With a more practical approach to education, the new reforms might do away with the heavy emphasis on theory that 8-4-4 possessed. Scrapping cramming culture, the long late nights and early mornings students spent to commit to memory formula and laws of physics might be long gone. As may remember the dreaded times when they spent nights with their feet in buckets of cold water, the new curriculum could be a welcomed change. It might mean the end of tuition teachers careers and could mark the time when the prominent “mwakenya” is finally laid to rest.
4. P.E Lessons A Free For All
As students sat in boring Biology classes that ate into their Physical Education lessons, it seems that the new system will do more to fairly distribute school hours for work and play. Looking back at a childhood where many students’ most exciting feature of the week was an hour’s play, the new curriculum could do a lot to improve how much physical activity students get.
5. Non-Transferrable Skills
As many students succumbed to the 8-4-4 system that had little room for the artistic students to flourish, the new system promises to have more to offer all types of students. With various clusters that doomed artistic students for failure and the academically adept for success, a new approach to providing career options for all students is important. A reintroduction of subjects such as woodwork, home science, agriculture, art and crafts and more would be a good start for Kenya’s students to start off on their career path, no matter their giftings.