A few months ago I had the opportunity of teaching IGCSE, 8-4-4, and ACE curriculums co-currently. It was quite an experience I must say because in as much as I had exposure to IGCSE and 8-4-4 curriculums, I had never known about ACE. ACE stands Accelerated Christian Education. It is an American curriculum that fully encompasses Christianity throughout the course content. The Kenyan Government does not recognise it for reasons which seem fit however it does have a few strong points. There are quite a few things I got to see in these children as they went through these curriculums. ACE curriculum in Kenya in as much as it is an over load of Christianity considering that CRE is part of the Kenyan curriculum, one thing that stood out is that it taught learners to think for themselves and to believe in themselves.
The 8-4-4 curriculum however makes learners so fearful no wonder many adults go through life not believing that they could start their own ventures and they succeed. Our classrooms are full of teachers who rule the students with an iron fist, punishing them for every small mistake but never giving them the opportunity to say what they know, share their experiences and knowledge and giving them the confidence to do so. The IGCSE curriculum has its own fair share of weaknesses especially in literature because for one it does not expose learners to African or Asian books yet there are so many great African writers. However the way the curriculum is structured it is so relevant to the western world, learners leave the school set up knowing what they want from life and how to proceed to the next level. The greatest strength 8-4-4 has is that the learners are very disciplined and exposed to different cultures from various subjects taught in schools.
If the curriculum developers could find a way of making a curriculum that is relevant to the Kenyan context, practical rather than theoretical in nature there may not be so many un-employed youth in the country. If all the good point of ACE, 8-4-4 and IGCSE systems could be siphoned out and incorporated into one system, Vision 2030 may not be such a dream. If they could find a way of training teachers to acquire a friendlier and open classroom environment it would encourage learners to believe in themselves. More innovations would be made from learners. By now KenGen the only power generating company in Kenya would be facing stiff competition from other players such as innovators who find a way of collecting garbage and using the heat to generate power. The education system needs to be overhauled to ensure that no matter what grade a learner leaves school with he/ she is still useful and can become independent unlike today where college graduates in Kenya are unable to fend for themselves.
Education in Kenya is the key to many things in life and if economic gurus ignore these few weaknesses Vision 2030 may just be a mirage in the desert that disappears the nearer you get. If all stake holders could openly acknowledge the great weaknesses in our education system, a total overhaul of the structures in place would be an option rather than making changes here and there. Is it not better to have a new pair of trousers for Christmas rather than an old one full of patch work here and there? I would always prefer a new one.