Kenya: Grade 3 Cleaners Divide Opinion Among Kenyans

Grade Three pupils at Bridge International Academy in Nakuru participate in a cleaning exercise at Free Area Market in Nakuru Town East on September 10, 2019.
13 September 2019

Opinion is divided among Kenyans following the introduction of the new competence-based curriculum that has seen young learners taught how to clean markets among other things.

The curriculum demands that the learners - from foundation to grade 3 - are exposed to various activities besides the normal classroom tasks.

The past two weeks have seen learners from different institutions leave the classroom set up to collect rubbish in nearby market.

Pictures of the young learners clad in improvised aprons and gloves as protective gear pushing improvised wheelbarrows have been circulated widely on social media. They are also seen wearing gas masks to protect themselves from pungent smell of waste substances.

These images have drawn varied reaction from netizens with some endorsing the curriculum while others argue that it is hazardous and unnecessary for the children to be involved in such activities.


A video posted by @mulamwah shows learners from Bishop Kitunga Academy in Huruma at Kariobangi market, wearing sack clothes and hats made of cartons and plastics bags.

They were also carrying brooms and spades. The teacher- in -charge said this was part of the Grade 3 national assessment.

This kids showed up today to clean Kariobangi market. Our future as Kenya is indeed bright . -- MULAMWAH™ (@mulamwah) September 6, 2019

The scenes have touched a huge debate on social media among Kenyans. Here are a few:

This is the new curriculum In Kenya. We teach our babies how to collect trash in the markets etc. In China, Japan, South Korea, such babies are being taught how to manufacture robots, programming complex machines and manufacturing laptops. Clearly we are a third world. -- Lord Abraham Mutai (@ItsMutai) September 8, 2019

Anyone else who has a problem with this new activity ☹️ -- Bad & Boujee acting Cute 😂(Shi) (@Shikoohz) September 8, 2019

Good morning CBC supporters... . -- Bad & Boujee acting Cute 😂(Shi) (@Shikoohz) September 8, 2019

@velma kiome said: "Sooo, how many markets are there and how many grade 3 pupils are there ? this is a sham."

@Dr Rowena Njeri said: "I also saw the new curriculum has these stuff ,including improvising the aprons from gunia and dustpans from jerry cans.They're required to do these duties and if they do at home the parent is told to take pics and send . I like it ... ."

@dennispeter added: "And for those people saying CBC will equip learners with know how skills and not theory as the case of 8-4-4 , you need to go back to the reasons as to why 8-4-4 was introduced, the same arguments were given , in Kenya , the problems comes in on implementation part."

@wuodanyuongi wondered: "Kwani mashule hazijafunguliwa?"

@davykatahbra said: "Good work to our children."

Under CBC, the learners will be assessed on three levels: English activities, Mathematics activities and integrated paper, which includes environmental activities, nutritional activities and Kiswahili activities.

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