Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on Wednesday told off those opposed to the new curriculum, saying the train has already left the station.
Speaking at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) during the launch of the curriculum policy, Prof Magoha asked those in opposition to keep off.
“I promise not to take my leg off the peddle as far as curriculum review is concerned, as a majority of Kenyans, children, teachers are on my side. And if you do not want to be on my side please leave,” said Prof Magoha in an indirect attack on the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut).
He said those opposed to the exercise have a constitutional right to do so, but insisted that they will not stop the process, which started this year with Grades One, Two and Three.
He criticised Knut for change its position this year after having participated in the process since it started more than three years ago.
The policy details how the ministry will ensure proper implementation of the new curriculum.
The Knut leadership stayed away from the launch. However, Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) protested over the ministry’s failure to invite them.
Prof Magoha, who had already addressed participants at the event, was forced to take the microphone to read a protest message from a Kuppet official.
“I have received a message from Kuppet which indicates that they were not invited for this event. I do not want this process to be politicised at all.
“I do not understand how organisers failed to invite Kuppet which is supporting the process and instead invited others who are opposed to this process,” he said.
Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said the union cannot participate in an exercise that is “flawed, lacks legitimacy and public participation” as is required by the Constitution.
The Sossion-led union has put forward several demands that it wants implemented before supporting the process. Among the demands is better training of teachers and anchoring the curriculum in law.
The Knut has insisted that it will only support the process if the government establishes, through a gazette notice, a commission of experts.
The commission, Knut said, should comprise curriculum experts, education policy developers and other knowledgeable Kenyans with proper credentials in education matters, who will evaluate the curriculum, consider other reforms and make recommendations.
Mr Sossion’s position contradicts his earlier stance on the exercise where he had demanded that teachers be trained effectively in order to have the union support the process.
Already, the sessional paper on curriculum reforms has been published and is before Parliament for discussion.
The policy formalises the responsibilities of various actors in the curriculum reforms, development and implementation process.
Prof Magoha said he had held at least 20 meetings with critical stakeholders to enhance the levels of engagement on the competence-based curriculum (CBC) with a view to reaching a consensus.
“Some of these stakeholders include representatives of the clergy, National Parents Association, Kuppet, civil society, development partners, universities, professional teacher associations and trade unions,” he said.
He added that the ministry has distributed more than 12 million CBC textbooks to schools this month, adding that he personally led the supervision process on the use and availability of these books in schools.
Prof Magoha said together with the Teachers Service Commission, the government has trained more than 91,000 teachers on the CBC.
“Field reports indicate that these teachers are now more confident and efficient in the CBC delivery. The ministry this month trained 1,400 education officers on the management and supervision of CBC in schools, including the methods that will be used in competency-based assessment.
“We expect that these officers will now do a more commendable job of ensuring the overall delivery of CBC is up to the standards expected.”