Thousands of Kenyans have removed their children from the competency-based curriculum (CBC) and registered them in schools offering international syllabus.
International schools have for many years been a reserve of the super wealthy, but inquiries show the trend is changing.
More parents have made the transfer seeking to bolster their children from teething problems of the new system.
Stockholders in middle and high-end private primary schools have moved to bank on the demand, building tens of classrooms as demand rises.
Numerous schools that formerly offered only the national curriculum now run international syllabus classes side-by-side, with the British National Curriculum (BNC) being the most preferred.
Such schools now have children taking the CBC, 8-4-4 and their chosen international curriculum.
“The inspiration was feedback from our parents to offer alternatives. We took this on with no compromise on the national curriculum,” the director of communications at Makini Schools, Ms Katya Nyangi, said.
“Our parents are happy because they can choose the system to enroll their children. Because the offer was intended to serve our parents, we worked it out to stay within mid-fee range.”
She said the school was scrutinized and qualified by Cambridge Assessment Institute.
The flight from CBC also shows there is no confidence in the way the curriculum has been implemented.
It takes into focus the broadening gap between socio-economic classes in Kenya. Parents who can afford are charged higher fees for the programs.
Schools offering the international curricula have had to reskill their teachers.
At Makini Schools, some 500 students have switched from CBC to the Cambridge system.
Rose of Sharon Academy in Nairobi is also offering CBC, 8-4-4 and the Cambridge International Curriculum (CIC).
The annual fees for the national curricula range from Sh176,000 in Playgroup to Sh280,000 for Standard Eight.
For the Cambridge International Curriculum (CIC)., parents pay Sh272,100 for Year One learners and Sh319,500 for Year Six.
The money is exclusive of other requirements such as textbooks, digital devices and transport.
The school has plans for junior/lower secondary for CBC and CIC.
“With this kind of curriculum, we can provide a broad and balanced education for our learners, helping them thrive throughout their schooling, work and life,” a booklet by the school reads.
“With 10 subjects – mathematics, science and English as the main disciplines – your child will find plenty of opportunities to develop creativity, expression and well-being. We offer topics that supplement other learning processes.”
As the demand for the international curricula rises, some schools that were primarily offering the programs have had to limit their admission numbers in order to uphold standards.
A duo that has been on the waiting list of Cavina School for a year was dissatisfied to receive a message this month.
The parents had to look for an alternative school.
“We have placed your child’s name on the waiting list for admission to Pre-Prep One in September, 2023. If a place falls vacant during the course of the 2022 academic year, we will offer it to the next child on the waiting list,” the message from the school read.