The government through the ministry of education rolled out a Competency-based Curriculum (CBC) in 2017, with the aim of transforming the education system in the country. CBC places emphasis on competence development rather than on the acquisition of content knowledge meaning that the teaching and learning process is more focused on the acquisition of skills and competencies useful for solving real-life problems.
But research conducted by Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) on teacher preparedness, the availability, and adequacy of teaching materials, the level of engagement between teachers and parents in the process of implementing CBC, revealed that there is a lot more to that is yet to be addressed.
There have been numerous public concerns about CBC textbooks already in the market that have been published locally with misleading content. Some of the complementary textbooks that parents are being asked to buy for their children by the curriculum developers have strong suggestive clauses that could impair the thinking of a minor.
One twitter user highlighted how a child’s cognitive ability if not well structured by the content they consume could corrupt their early development phases, with a tweet on the strong language used in a particular content in a LongHorn Competence-Based Smart Score Encyclopaedia Grade 2 Volume one book
“Lucy and Margret are sisters. Lucy is loved more by her parents. What should Margret do?
A. Kill herself
B. Do what her parents want,” read a screenshot of a question in this book.
Such context clearly perpetrates suicidal thoughts in a child’s mind which could spark violence in their behaviour. This tweet sparked mixed reactions on the platform with some parents calling out Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development for not thoroughly assessing the quality of content being churned out by publishing companies.
Longhorn Publishers PLC was swift in responding to the matter in a statement to its esteemed customers, apologizing for the gross error and recalling the books off the market.
“We have noted concerns with regards to one of our books. We acknowledge query and we have full responsibility. We take great pride in providing high-quality learning material for our learners, but in this instance, we failed and we are extremely sorry. We take matters regarding mental health seriously we would never wish our product to be considered encouraging suicide.
“We have recalled the books for the market and corrective steps are already in place to ensure that this does not happen again. We always aim to improve and your feedback is essential to that process. Please feel free to contact us for any support that you may require regarding our products,” read a notice by the publisher
This is not the first time publishers have slipped inappropriate content into the CBC curriculum, and the many caught in the act always seem to get away with it. Just how thorough is the government in quality checking to ensure, such errors do not find their way into classrooms?