This article explains CBC structure and the Subjects to be Studied in Junior Secondary
• There will be 12 compulsory subjects in junior secondary, some of which have been retained from the 8-4-4 system.
• Junior secondary education will take three years – Grade 7, 8 and 9 for learners aged between 12 and 14 years.
Some 1.24 million learners shall join junior secondary school in January 2023. The start of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) came with a wide array of changes to Kenya’s education system.
This includes the number of subjects to be studied and the number of years learners will take to complete their education circle.
Under the new education system 2–6–3–3–3, learners will spend a total of 17 years in school – two in pre-primary, six in primary school, three in junior secondary, three in senior secondary school and three in university.
Under the 8-4-4 system, learners usually spent a total of 18 years in school; that is, eight years in primary with pre-primary factored in, four in secondary school and four in university.
The implementation of the CBC is currently at Grade 5. Learners will transition to Grade 6 on April 25 at the beginning of the first term of the 2021/22 academic calendar.
Grade 6 learners shall later in the year sit their first national CBC assessment test- the Kenya Certificate of Basic Education Exam (KCBE).
About 1.24 million pioneer KCBE candidates will join junior secondary schools in January 2023. The academic calendar will revert to the normal January-November timeline at this point.
The Junior Secondary education will take three years – Grade 7, 8 and 9 for learners aged between 12 and 14 years. Information Communication Technology (ICT) shall be a key delivery tool for all subjects.
However, The nature of what learners shall study at this level is somehow still shrouded in mystery even though the curriculum developer has given an outline.
Let us have a breakdown of the core and optional subjects learners will study under the new system.
There will be a total of 12 core subjects in junior secondary, some of which have been retained from the 8-4-4 system. These are English, Kiswahili, Mathematics and Social Studies.
For learners with hearing impairment however, they will undertake Kenyan Sign Language in place of English and Kiswahili, including composition and Insha.
Religious education has been retained as a core subject also. Learners will choose whether to study Christian Religious Education, Islamic Religious Education or Hindu Religious Education.
Business studies, Agriculture, Life Skills Education, Sports and Physical Education will also be studied as core subjects.
New subjects that have been introduced as core subjects in the junior secondary are Integrated Science, Health Education and Pre-Technical and Pre-Career Education.
The key purpose of the pre-technical subject is to prepare learners for work by instilling technical skills and knowledge needed to perform specific tasks.
Skills to be taught under pre-technical education include auto mechanics, accounting, home management and textiles and clothing.
Others are woodwork, shorthand, typewriting, technical drawing, metalwork, electricity and electronics.
Technical skills are important for several reasons; they help learners work more efficiently, boost their confidence and make them more valuable candidates for employers.
On the other hand, pre-career education will seek to prepare learners to pick out their career paths on completion of senior secondary – Grade 10, 11 and 12.
Career education hones their focus so that they can make informed choices about their careers.
It provides them with the skills, knowledge, and encouragement they need to get the most out of their desired career path.
Teachers and counsellors will provide the essential guidance that will create a bridge between education and career.
Usually, learners display higher levels of engagement and motivation when they have a clear understanding of what they want to do or become in life.
It is for this reason that the new system will allow learners to choose optional subjects according to their personality, abilities, interests and career choices.
There are a total of seven optional subjects in junior secondary. Learners will be allowed to choose a minimum of one and a maximum of two optional subjects. These are Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Home Science and Computer Science.
There will also be an option for learners to study foreign languages. Options available are German, French, Arabic, Chinese or Mandarin. Still on languages, learners will have an option to study an indigenous language of their choice. This can range from Kamba, Digo, Luhya, Maa, Idakho, Somali or Ogiek. There will be also an option for learners to study the Kenya Sign Language.