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Knut officials locked out of education conference

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Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) officials have been locked out of the Ministry of Education national conference at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on Friday, which President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to attend.

The Knut leaders were blocked from entering the conference hall for lack of accreditation.

“They were asked to get badges for the forum from the Ministry of Interior,” a Knut official told the Nation.

Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion told the Nation Friday that after checking on the delegates list, their names were missing.

“We are not on the list and there is no badge so we can’t attend!” Mr Sossion said.

The Kenya Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) are in attendance with its Secretary General Akelo Misori leading his team.

On Wednesday, Kuppet had asked the Ministry to involve them in the ongoing education reforms on curriculum.

The conference has brought together more than 2,000 delegates from across the country and international organisations.

It is expected to provide an academicians, religious leaders, and opinion and policy makers an opportunity to discuss quality and the relevance of education the country is giving its children.

Knut has been opposed to the implementation of the new competence based curriculum (CBC) citing teacher unpreparedness and inadequate infrastructure to support it.

On Thursday, Mr Sossion said Knut is committed to provide leadership and direction in education using quality research to enhance the country’s understanding of union’s mandate in defending the achievements of quality education and the teaching profession as a way to improve the Basic Education Sector in Kenya.

The conference is expected to address confusion surrounding the roll out of the CBC.

Among issues is how Grade Three assessment would be administered.

Parents and other education stakeholders have been raising concerns on the government’s readiness to continue rolling out of the new curriculum.

Among the contentious questions which parents are asking are why Grade Three pupils have to be subjected to national assessments, whether Grade Six pupils will sit for national exams before they transition to lower secondary school, and how the government is prepared to provide infrastructure for lower secondary students in Grade Seven to Grade Nine.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha has acknowledged that the rolling out of CBC has been facing various challenges which the ministry is putting effort to address.

For the last two weeks, Prof Magoha said the ministry has engaged various education stakeholders in 11 preconference exercises as part of the build up to the national conference.

Several other dialogues have also been held in all the 47 counties.

Among the topics discussed during the preconferences included, the assessment of Grade Three pupils, training of teachers, inclusion in special needs education, technical and vocational institutions, university reforms and inclusion of ICT among others.

“The CBC is one of the President’s legacy projects which the government is keen to ensure it succeeds,” said Prof Magoha.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to open the KICC conference where over 2000 delegates are expected to take part.

During the preconferences, Prof Magoha directed the Kenya National Examination (Knec) to clear the tests confusion for Grade Three.

“How do we package this assessment for parents to understand that it is not exam?,” he posed.

This year, Knec announced that at the end of the year, Grade Three learners will sit for the Kenya Early Years Assessment (Keya). They will be assessed in English, Mathematics and Integrated Learning Areas.

For successful implementation of the curriculum, among the areas the Ministry is keen to address is schools infrastructure.

Prof Magoha said, already World Bank has donated Sh8.2 billion for construction of schools in 30 counties in marginalised regions.

The improvement will be done under the auspices of the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQIP) which will benefit some 2,000 primary schools, 1,000 secondary schools.

In addition, 68 primary and seven secondary schools catering for Special Education needs will also benefit.

The CS said, the government has also allocated Sh 1.5 billion in the 2019/2020 financial year, towards improvements of infrastructure in public primary and secondary schools.

Sh1.2 billion has been allocated for secondary schools while Sh300 million has been allocated for primary schools.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to give the opening address at the National Conference.

The Nation has learnt that Knut delegates had not registered online.

The absence of teachers’ representatives at the conference now casts doubts on the success of the implementation of CBC.

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