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Grade 3 pupils from Kiangungi Primary School in Embu East clean Kiangungi shopping centre as part of CBC assessment. Photo MARTIN FUNDI


The demands of the Competency Based Curriculum have caused a massive reduction in hours teachers of English and Kiswahili spend with learners. 

A report by curriculum materials providers Tusome shows schools have lost up to 30 lessons in English and Kiswahili since the rollout of the new curriculum. 

Titled ‘Tusome external evaluation end-line report’ the study assessed the implementation of the ‘Tusome’ project in lower primary in public schools.

Tusome was launched in 2014 to help learners in Grade 1, 2 and 3 to fluently read in English and Kiswahili.

The report says teachers seem comfortable using Tusome material in the classroom. 

“[However,] they have faced significant challenges following the 40 per cent reduction on instructional hours allocated to English and Kiswahili under the Competency-based Curriculum,” the report reads.

Learners’ ability to read in English and Kiswahili has significantly dropped on account of the fewer hours.

Under the CBC, learners take three Kiswahili and English lessons each week. In the 8-4-4 system, English and Kiswahili lessons were taught each day of the week.

About 70 hours of teaching and learning Kiswahili and English have been lost. 

“Endline results found on average that teachers were around 30 lessons behind since the last evaluation,” the report reads.

The majority of the learners assessed were still struggling to read at least 20 words each minute correctly.

In Grade 1, 72 per cent of learners were not able to read at least 20 English words each minute while in Grade 2 some 46 per cent could not handle the same task.

In Kiswahili, the situation is worse as some 62 per cent of Grade 1 learners could not read as were another 29 per cent of Grade 2 pupils.

Julius Jwan, the Basic Education principal secretary on Tuesday said that the government would review the timetable in schools to reclaim time lost for English and Kiswahili lessons.

Under CBC learners in lower primary take 35 lessons each week in nine subjects.

The subjects include Literacy Activities, Kiswahili, English, Mathematics, Environmental Activities, Hygiene and Nutrition, Religious Education, Physical Education, and Pastoral Programme of Instruction.

Mathematics, literacy activities, Environment get the highest allocation with five lessons each week.

Kiswahili, English, and Religious Education on the other hand have three lessons each week.

Hygiene and nutrition are taught twice each week while the Pastrol programme is taught once a week.

The exit of the Tusome project's financier USAID puts it in the hands of the government.

In the evaluation, 23 per cent of teachers further reported that English and Kiswahili lessons under the Tusome project were paced too fast.

Another 31 per cent reported a lack of materials as a challenge to a fluent reading of English and Kiswahili among lower primary learners. - The Star


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