Kenya: Grade Five Roll-Out in Final Stage

Plans to roll out Grade Five under the new curriculum in July are in the final stage as the curriculum developer begins to adapt course books to meet needs of learners with special needs.

Currently, the Competency Based Curricculum(CBC) is at Grade Four and Grade Five will be rolled out when the current Grade Four learners, who are on a three-month break, resume school in July.

The adaptation is led by subject secretaries, mainly curriculum developers from the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and whose role is to guide a team of panellists in checking what needs to be adjusted in the textbooks that have been approved for regular learners.

The subject areas that each panel is dealing with include; Maths; English; Kiswahili; Science and Technology; Home Science; Agriculture; Social Studies; Physical and Health Education; Art and Craft; Music; Braille and Kenya Sign Language. The Ministry of Education distributed Grade Five books to schools last term.

KICD Senior Deputy Director in-charge of Curriculum Development Jacqueline Onyango yesterday said adaptation of the course materials is being spearheaded by curriculum experts drawn from the Ministry of Education, KICD, Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) and teachers from special needs education schools.

"This exercise has also brought on board curriculum implementers who are persons with disabilities," she said.

Approval of curriculum

The adaptation follows successful development and approval of the curriculum support materials that will be used in schools as from July.

The rationale for adapting the books is to meet diverse needs of various categories of learners with special needs so that they can also enjoy learning and access quality education, as their counterparts without disabilities.

The learners set to benefit from the curriculum support materials include those with hearing, visual and physical impairment.

Mrs Onyango said the right to education for learners with special needs cannot be relegated to the periphery in the guise that additional resources are needed to accommodate their needs.

KICD has expressed optimism that the adapted books will be ready before reopening of schools so that both the regular learners and those in special needs schools benefit.

"We want course materials for all learners, including those with special needs. We shall deliver the books in good time so that no learner feels left out," Mrs Onyango explained on behalf of the KICD CEO, Prof Charles Ong'ondo..

KICD Deputy Director, Special Programmes, Ms Grace Ngugi Maina, said the panels working on the materials for learners with disabilities must be guided by the adapted Grade Five curriculum designs to remain relevant with curriculum requirements.

Special needs learners

"It is all about the children and what they are able to do. Otherwise, the adaptation will be null and void if you don't think about the learners' potential and capabilities," said Ms Maina,

The curriculum provides an opportunity for learners with special needs to excel in their areas of ability, and interest, without feeling neglected.

Besides emphasising on what a learner can do, the new curriculum focuses on values and the invaluable role parents play in a child's education.

There are concerns that some parents hide their children in homes, denying them the right to free and compulsory primary and subsidised secondary education, due to fears that the children cannot compete with the rest of the learners.

Mr Isaiah Kuyo, a teacher from Kumbi Primary School in Tana River County, who is participating in the visual impairment panel handling Music, said including people living with disabilities in the activity would guarantee quality.

"Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. So we are the right people to recommend the modifications that need to be done on the books," Mr Kuyo, who has a visual impairment, said.

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