The place of I.C.T. in Kenya’s Competence Based Curriculum

The Summative Evaluation of the current Curriculum indicated that Kenya’s 8.4.4 curriculum content and its implementation was academic and examination oriented. In addition to curriculum overload, most schools were not adequately provided with equipped workshops to facilitate the learning of ICT practical skills and teachers were not sufficiently trained. The graduates at secondary school level did not acquire adequate ICT skills for self-reliance.

Furthermore, the current curriculum does not provide flexible education pathways for identifying and nurturing the talents and interests of learners early enough to prepare them for the world of work, career progression and sustainable development in the I.C.T. sector.

Assessment, which is crucial for the provision of quality education, has been limited to summative assessment of learning whilst the majority of teachers hardly ever use formative assessment for learning. This has led to a situation where there is fierce competition in learning instead of a focus on the acquisition of requisite ICT knowledge and skills. The curriculum makes little provision for the recognition of the learners’ potential, gifts and talents due to an unnecessary focus on examination. This has contributed to increased drop out and wastage rates in the education sector as well as high unemployment.

The Kenyan Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) is a new system of education designed by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) team and launched by the Ministry Of Education in 2017. The CBC is designed to emphasize the significance of developing skills and knowledge and also applying those competencies to real life situations.

The CBC Framework is anchored on the National Goals of Education, one of them being promotion of technological and industrial needs for national development. It is reasoned that education should develop in the learner necessary competences for technological and industrial development for the nation in tandem with global trends.

The creators of the competency based curriculum envision that at the end of the learning period, every learner should have achieved DIGITAL LITERACY as one of the core competences.

Digital literacy can be described as having the knowledge, skills and behaviours which are necessary to effectively and safely use a wide range of digital content and devices. Such devices include mobile phones, smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops among others. All these fall within the category of network enabled devices. Digital literacy focuses mainly on network enabled devices and should not be confused with computer literacy skills. However, traditional forms of literacy and computer literacy are enhancers in the acquisition of digital literacy skills.

Individuals are presumed to be digitally literate if they possess a broad range of digital skills and knowledge, and have a basic understanding of the potential uses of computing devices. Digital literacy skills also include being able to use computer communication networks, being able to engage in online communication and social networks, being aware of and adhering to ethical behaviour protocols, being aware of societal issues raised through digital media, and being able to search, evaluate and use information channelled through digital platforms.

Furthermore, the digital literate individual should also have the ability to safely and securely use technology while being able to assess the nature of the information acquired in order to support and enhance the environment.

Digital literacy as a competence therefore encompasses knowledge and skills concerning the appropriate application of a variety of hardware platforms such as computers, tablets and mobile devices, and their software including but not limited to web search or internet application software.

Digital literacy is a dynamic competence due to the fast-changing world of information communication technology and the ongoing development of technological devices as well as their related software. This is an area in which there is constant innovation and development as the industry attempts to keep up with a globally increasing demand for efficient and effective communication technologies.

Currently, digital literacy is considered as one of the main core competencies for learning and life in the 21st century. It challenges existing thinking and practice while leading to a more innovative, creative and often transformational learning.

One of the learning outcomes of early years education , the first level of CBC , is to apply digital literacy skills for learning and enjoyment.

Digital literacy will be integrated across all Subjects at the pre-primary education level.

At the Middle School level , one of the learning outcomes is application of digital literacy skills for communication and learning.  ICT will be cross cutting in all subjects at Upper Primary.

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) pathway shall be offered in 60% of senior schools. It will therefore take 60% of the students entering senior school from lower secondary and it shall comprise of Technical and Engineering as one of the 4 career tracks. ICT is one of the core subjects.

At that level , learning will deal with the purposeful application of computer systems to solve real-world problems, including issues such as the identification of business needs, the specification and installation of hardware and software, and the evaluation of usability.

The learner should be able to understand and play an active role in the digital world that surrounds them, not to be passive consumers of an opaque and mysterious technology. A sound understanding of computing concepts will help them see how to get the best from the systems they use, and how to solve problems when things go wrong.

Moreover, learners who are able to think in computational terms will be able to understand and rationally argue about issues involving computation, such as software patents, identity theft, genetic engineering, electronic voting systems for elections, online shopping and so on. In a world suffused by computation, every school leaver should have an understanding of computing.

In  lower secondary school ,  the learner should be in a position to use ICT in his or her daily activities because in the world today digital literacy is vitally important. Those who opt for the Academic Pathway will have to take computer science as a subject and will be taken through more detailed applications and other areas of the subject.

Due to the added value of ICT in learning, all teachers and students are required to use ICT to support and enrich their teaching and learning activities. ICT is a way of life in the knowledge society and digital era. Education content design, development and delivery should utilize ICT to ensure relevance and synchronized to people’s life style. Using ICT as a tool in teaching and learning enhances the empowerment of teachers and students to fit in the current world of work. ICT can be used as a research tool, problem-solving, creative and teaching and learning tool.

ICTs have the potential to enhance teaching and learning through:

  • Enriching the subject matter,
  • Improving delivery, extending methods of presenting information as a teaching aid,
  • Overcome teacher isolation, by connecting them to colleagues, mentors, curriculum experts, and the global teachers’ community.
  • Providing teachers the opportunity to disseminate and share good practice via communities of practice, the internet, access reliable facilities, resources and support on pedagogical issues and the latest curriculum developments.
  • Offering opportunities for quick, easy and near real time reports and communication to and from the different sectors is possible through various ICTs

For the integration of ICTs in teaching and learning to be successful the tools and resources of the internet, internet of things, multimedia, and related technologies, there is need to utilize ICT as integrally connected with literacy learning in the wider sense of learning as a matter of accessing information, communicating, and applying knowledge.

For sustainability of continuous professional development , there is a proposed mode of  a digital literacy platform that will support teachers in uploading their material.

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