It is good news that the new education system designed to replace the 8-4-4 system might start being implemented come May 2017. But it is disappointing that it does not introduce any new elements and it even appears more academic than the one it is replacing.
The new system rearranges the years to a 2-6-3-3-3 pattern aimed at “ensuring learners acquire competencies and skills to meet the human resource aspirations of the Vision 2030 blueprint”.
But look at what children learn:
- By the time learners complete early years’ education, they should be able to demonstrate basic literacy and numeracy skills and communicate appropriately using verbal and/or non-verbal modes.
- In upper primary, learners will have been exposed to a broad curriculum and given an opportunity for exploration and experimentation.
- At Grade 4, learners will be introduced to the optional subjects offered at upper primary so as to make informed choices at Grade 7.
- “Graduates of primary school Grade 6 shall join lower secondary at Grade 7.
- Lower secondary will expose the learners to a broad-based curriculum to enable them to explore their own abilities, personality and potential as a basis for choosing subjects according to career paths of interest at the senior school.
- In the senior school category, learners in the age bracket of 15 to 17 years, will spend three years. This level lays the foundation for further education and training at the tertiary level and the world of work.
- Students in secondary school will also specialize in the subjects they wish to pursue in tertiary institutions. A student will take two core subjects irrespective of the pathway identified.
If you look at this sampling of learning objective, you can see for yourself the developer are unclear about what skills they are planning for the children.
A rationale, which I am looking at as I write this, for the colonial education spells out clearly what students will acquire at every stage. Exit points for students are clearly marked out showing what academic and life skills they will have acquired. For example, Standard 8 was exit point. It is clearly shown what competences the student will have and other paths they could take to improve themselves.
Sure, the proposed system emphasizes continuous assessment tests (CATS), and that is a good point. But do you have to overhaul a whole system just to do what you could have done as a footnote? Given a choice, I would revert to the colonial system, as the basis upon which make improvements.