Parents making extra learning investments to help children bridge CBC gaps

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Some feel that some assignments, like making a traditional cooking stick, will not prepare learners adequately in fast-changing digital world.

Parents across the country are adopting new innovative approaches to blend the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) with the traditional aspirations of formal employment.

CBC has been designed to equip learners with competences, values, knowledge and skills necessary for them to succeed in a highly competitive world.

Under CBC, parents are encouraged to be more than just spectators in their children's education but become partners in learning, facilitating projects and supporting the practical application of lessons at home. 

This involvement is a significant shift from the previous 8-4-4 model where parents often played a largely passive role.

But while the new curriculum offers numerous opportunities for holistic development, the transition has not been without challenges. For many parents, it demands considerable time and resources, which can be overwhelming.

This has not limited them from wanting their children to acquire more decent jobs.

Richard Maina, a father of two children at Juja Primary School, one in Grade Five and the other in Grade Eight, told The Eastleigh Voice that he appreciates the competency and skills development fostered by the curriculum but expressed concerns regarding its direct applicability to modern job markets.

“While I value how the curriculum develops practical skills, I wish to have my children secure professional employment, not just work in the informal jua kali sector,” Maina said. 

He said assignments his children bring home, such as making a traditional cooking stick, puzzle him

While he appreciated that this is a useful skill, he wondered how it will be useful to his children’s future careers in a rapidly changing digital era. He said he wants his children to be well-prepared for the technological advancements that are defining the global economy.

“My daughter is interested in banking and my son has a keen interest in data science. I wonder how often the curriculum addresses these modern, tech-driven capabilities that are essential for the high-skill jobs we hope they will get,” he said.

Richard Maina, a father of two children at Juja Primary School, one in Grade Five and the other in Grade Eight. (Photo: Eastleigh Voice)

Realising the potential gaps in CBC, the father of two said he supplements his children’s school work with additional resources that he hopes will be useful to them in future. 

“When I realised my son had an interest in becoming a data scientist, I started investing in mathematics and coding toys, apps and online films so that he can use them to develop his analytical and programming skills. Similarly, for my daughter, I encourage her to focus on mathematics and financial literacy tools which will provide her with a strong foundation in managing finances and understanding economic principles,” he said.

Alice Waithera, whose daughter is in Grade Seven, said that every weekend, she transforms her living room into a makeshift classroom, adorned with whiteboards, textbooks and educational posters. 

Through this, she guides her daughter in subjects not fully covered in the CBC such as advanced mathematics, science and language proficiency.

While she appreciated CBC's emphasis on skills development, Waithera said she believes academic excellence is important in securing formal employment opportunities. By complementing the CBC with additional academic training, she hopes to equip her daughter with a well-rounded education that opens doors to diverse career paths.

Another parent, Daniel Ochieng, who is a shopkeeper, said he often engages his daughter in calculating change for customers or measuring the amount of ingredients for use while cooking. This, he said, is a way of making learning a constant part of life.

According to a 2012 report released by the African Population and Health Research Center, parents have been cited as enablers, motivators and facilitators of their children’s education at all levels of schooling.

The time spent with parents is a crucial factor in the growth of children whose well-being is an important indicator of their mental health.

“Parental involvement is a major ingredient in a child’s educational success. Parents are leaders in the home and collaborators with teachers. This means parents need to provide basic necessities, provide a safe environment where a child studies and know the whereabouts of their children when they are not in school. They also need to offer support with school work. Overall, the success of adolescents in school is an outcome of communication,” the report said.

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