Switching education systems

BY WILLIAM MWANGI

Education impacts an individual’s thought process through the development of critical, analytical and creative thinking just to mention a few. It is vital to invest in early childhood development with a focus on the end goal. The choice of an education system will determine the outcome.

Kenya has embraced the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) a system that begins in early years education (pre-primary and lower primary), middle school (upper primary and lower secondary), senior school (upper secondary) and tertiary education. 

Cambridge curriculum consists of four stages – primary, lower secondary, IGCSE and International AS and A Levels –, and gives students a clear path for educational success from age five to 19.  

CBC and The two systems vary in content and mode of delivery. The learning approach at Cambridge is student-centered meaning there is not a one size fits all. It requires active learning, recognition of student diversity and continuous self-reflection with consideration of the different backgrounds and varying connections to knowledge. 

CBC aims to be a more student-based system with more focus on the ability of the learner to self-learn and develop relevant skills required for any engagement carried out. 

The assessment process between the two has slight differences. Cambridge employs summative and formative assessment. Formative refers to continuous projects such as posters, PowerPoint presentation, dance, or prototype which are then graded using rubrics (an instrument used to identify and evaluate qualitative differences in student performance). Summative features continuous examinations done throughout the year. In the case of CBC continuous tests carry the weight of the learner’s grades.  

The school calendar varies as Cambridge starts in September and ends in June. While CBC starts in January and concludes in December with an exception of the past two years where learners have endured a crash programme to enable them to complete the syllabus. 

Children exposed to the Cambridge system tend to begin the junior levels at an earlier age as compared to the CBC which begins at age four. When moving from CBC to Cambridge a student will be a year older as compared to the rest. 

Switching from the CBC to the Cambridge curriculum at different levels is a personal preference for a globally acceptable system. An informed position facilitates ease of transitioning from one to the other. Switching curriculums requires guidance, timing, assessment and a positive attitude in which the new institution will help the learner transition and settle smoothly. 

The writer is incharge of careers and A levels at Crawford International School

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