NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – Education cabinet Secretary George Magoha has appointed Philip Murgor to represent him in the case contesting the implementation of the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) following a petition filed by advocate Esther Ang’awa.
In a notice dated September 21, the Cabinet Secretary said all the correspondences and court processes should be served through Murgor’s firm.
“Take notice that Professor George Albert Omore Magoha, the Respondent herein, has today appointed the firm of M/s Murgor & Murgor Advocates, to act on his behalf in this matter. Take further notice that henceforth all future correspondence and court process shall be served upon the said firm,” read the notice.
The appointment of Murgor, a former public prosecutor, set the stage for a fierce court battle over the replacement of the 8-4-4 education system with 2-6-6-3 curriculum.
The CBC system has come under scrutiny from a section of parents and leaders who have expressed concern on its implementation which has been termed counterproductive and challenging by parties opposed to it.
A section of Kenyans and parents have come out to express their frustration with the new education systems saying it needed ‘a lot of work’.
Others have pointed out that the CBC system will result in education inequalities arguing that private schools have an added advantage over public schools in different parts of the country including remote and rural areas.
Lack of adequate network connectivity, insecurity and lack of resources are some of the challenges cited.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi, representing the petitioner, moved to court seeking conservatory orders against further implementation of the CBC.
In an urgent application filed on behalf of the petitioner, advocate Ang’awa, Havi asked that the matter be heard by an uneven number of judges of not less than five to be assigned by the Chief Justice.
“The necessity to have a bench of not less than five to hear the matter is informed by the various serious questions raised in the petition including whether the Minister in charge of Education can alter the system of education through sessional papers and policy decisions instead of legislation,” he told Capital FM on Friday.
“A reading of the Basic Education Act indicates that the system of education is codified in law and its only Parliament that can change that system of education,” Havi explained.
The LSK President argued that the overhaul of the education system had resulted in the alteration of the basic structure of the country’s education system without necessary amendments to the Basic Education Act.
“The effect of this overhaul and replacement of the system and structure of basic education is to designate a primary school as a secondary school and obfuscate the dichotomy between these two components of the basic education structure necessary for transition from primary education to secondary education,” Havi stated.
Ang’awa who also filed an affidavit in support of the petition said the roll out of the new curriculum primarily on the basis of the Basic Educational Curriculum Framework of 2017 and the Sessional Paper 1 of 2019 on curriculum reform constituted a violation of the Basic Education Act and the Constitution.
The petitioner argued that actions by Magoha, the Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development (KICD), the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) are unlawful and prejudicial to school-going children.
Magoha told a recent forum with news editors that both teachers and learners were comfortable with the new curriculum dismissing concerns raised by a section of stakeholders including parents as unfounded.
“We have no apologies to make to anybody, this competency-based curriculum is here to stay. In my life it’s the most transformative thing I have seen. I used to be worried that our teachers will compromise it. Even the teachers love it,” Magoha told the Kenya Editors Guild on Tuesday.
“To portray government as if it does nothing, Ladies and gentlemen is being unfair. Don’t demonize me for saying so, the facts are there,” he stated.
The national roll out of CBC started in January 2019 at Pre-Primary I and II and Grades I, II and III in lower primary. Learners have since transitioned to Grade V.
On Monday, the National Parents Association (NPA) who want to be enjoined in the case backed CBC saying they will defend the curriculum in court.
“What we are saying as parents leaders is, let the judicial case proceed but we will state our stand that many parents of this country more than 10 million are in support of the CBC,” said Nicholas Maiy the chair of NPA in a press conference.
They termed concerns over the the high cost of learning resources as unfounded.