How Education Act 2013 has influenced curriculum change in Kenya.

The basic education act No.14 was enacted in 2013 and paved way to the change of the 8-4-4 system to the competency based curriculum.

The 8-4-4 system needed to be replaced, as it was deemed to be too academic and exam oriented and did not take into consideration a learner’s gifts and talents.

The new curriculum is anchored in the national goals of education and seeks to nurture every learner to be an empowered, engaged and an ethical citizen.

The basic education 2013 act influenced curriculum change in several ways. Some of those ways are;

The establishment of the National Education Board

Section 5(1) of the basic education act, recommends the establishment of the National Education Board.

This board was responsible for spearheading the curriculum change by initiating proposals for education policy reforms and holding stakeholders engagements on the need for a competency based curriculum.

Thanks to the National Education Board and the County Education Board (also established under the act), the CBC came to fruition.

The establishment of educational institutions to cater for gifted and talented learners

The basic education 2013 act section 28(2) recommends the establishment of relevant education institutions to cater for gifted and talented learners.

The 8-4-4 system made little provision for gifts and talents thus had to be changed.

One of the strengths of competency based curriculum is that it is learner focused and is responsive to a learner’s strong points. It provides flexible education pathways for identifying and nurturing a student’s talents and interests early in their life.

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Parents participating in their children’s education

Section 31(3) states that a parent or a guardian shall have the right to participate in the character development of his or her child. This has been captured in the communication and collaboration competency of CBC.

The competency enables parents and guardians to take part in their children’s learning by empowering them to contribute to the learning outcomes of their children and to be engaged in all levels of their basic education.

Provision of quality basic education

Section 29(f) of the act states that, the government shall provide quality basic education conforming to the set standards and norms.

The 8-4-4 system was not ideal as it did not impact a learner with the necessary skills for sustainable development and career progression.

Assessments which is crucial for the provision of quality education, was limited to summative assessment only.

In the new curriculum there is a balance between formative and summative assessment. This enables a learner not only grasp the content but also understand it in a way that he or she can apply the knowledge in their daily life.

Change of structure of education

Section 42(1) states that the system shall be so structured to enable a learner access  education and training at any  level in a sequence and a pace that may be commensurate with the individual learner’s physical mental and intellectual abilities.

CBC has been structured in a way that competencies, values and knowledge are being taught across all levels of learning. The 8-4-4 system was structured in a way that if a concept was taught at one stage, it would rarely be applicable in another level.

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In section 42(2), the Cabinet Secretary in consultation with the National Education Board and other relevant stakeholders shall make regulations prescribing an appropriate structure of education and training.

This has resulted to the change of curriculum from the 8-4-4 to the 2-6-3-3 system whose structure is pre-primary, lower primary, upper primary, junior secondary, senior school and finally university or tertiary education.

Provision of environmental protection education

In section 42(4), it states that the Cabinet Secretary shall advise the government on the promotion of environmental protection education for sustainable development.

The new curriculum has implemented this by introducing environmental activity subjects in lower primary and pre-primary where learners acquire life skills that help them appreciate and protect their surrounding environment.

Provision of special needs education

When it comes to special needs education, the basic education act section 44(2) tasks the CS to provide special needs education in special schools suitable to the needs of a pupil requiring special education.

In the 8-4-4 curriculum, pupils who are abled differently were disadvantaged as they were expected to compete with their counterparts who had no physical challenges.

In CBC, the principle of differentiated learning and flexibility comes to play. It gives learners with special needs the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential at their own pace based on their ability.

Differentiated competency is divided into the following curriculums;

  • Enriched and accelerated for the gifted and talented.
  • Regular with adaptations
  • Specialized
  • Home or hospital based programs.

Activities such as pre-braille and the Kenya sign language are taught early on in pre-primary and lower primary and a learner progresses through levels as opposed to classes.

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The special education curriculum is tailored in a way they can learn different vocations that they can use to sustain themselves later on in life.


The basic education act 2013 has played a big role in the change of curriculum.It has provided the guidelines to which the new curriculum has been developed.

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