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East-Africa

Kenya Wants College Students To Be Day Scholars

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About a week ago, the Kenya government announced that it had dropped the colonial model of education to a futuristic Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) model.

Reports indicate that the East African nation is now quickly implementing the new model in a rush to fix the quality of literacy among its graduates at all levels.

It is now official that there will be three national examinations developed, managed, and marked under firm supervision of the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec).

Teachers will have added roles in scoring children and helping them make career decisions that may make or break their future.

The Government wants children in secondary schools, especially junior secondary, to be day scholars.

The CBC task force report handed to President Uhuru Kenyatta unravels the truth about Knec national examinations and assessments that will be done at school level under teachers’ supervision.

Each learner will be given a tracking number at Grade 3, which will be used to monitor progress as they transition in the subsequent education levels.

It is now clear – from the report – that Knec will only set, administer and supervise national examinations in Grade 6, 9 and 12 during the entire basic education journey of children.

“The national summative assessment will be administered at the end of Grade 6, sampling the works covered in Grade 4, 5 and 6. Knec will develop the tools and guidelines; supervise the administration and score the national assessment,” reads the report.

It further says, “A national assessment (similar to that administered at the end of Grade 6) will be developed and administered by Knec at the end of Grade 9.” And for the final examination, report says, “National summative exit examination will be administered by Knec at the end of Grade 12.”

The details of the report mean that one new Knec supervised examination will be introduced in the middle of secondary education (at Grade 9), in addition to the present end of primary tests and secondary exit national examinations.

Presently, the end of primary education examination is known as the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) while that of secondary examination is referred to as Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).

The task force report recommends that the national examinations be renamed.

“Knec to review the Knec Act (2012) and all regulations to align with the curriculum reforms, including renaming of the institution and renaming of the assessments to be administered under CBA (competency-based assessment),” reads the report.

The rest of school-based and class-based assessments will be administered at the institution level under the supervision of teachers.

Knec will only provide samples of all new assessments, provide assessment tools and related rubrics and monitor the administration and scoring of school-based assessments to ensure credibility.

Knec will also develop the competency-based assessment framework and related regulations and rules.

What however is clear from the report is the new teacher burden in the life of children’s basic education journey.

Assessment tools

Across the school assessments, teachers will use tools such as written tests, observation schedules, assessment rubrics, project portfolios, checklists, questionnaire, oral/aural questioning, anecdotal records and journals.

This means teachers, presently used to offering homework and limited class assessments, will have a lot more work in their hands, in addition to guiding children to nurture a holistic child.

At pre-school and lower primary, the report says the purpose of the assessments will be to establish competencies and readiness for transition from pre-primary and to facilitate seamless transition to primary school Grade 1 without creating inhibitions caused by examinations, tests or interviews.

“The assessment is meant to eliminate class repetitions and dropout at pre-primary, thus enhancing access,” reads report.

At primary level, assessments will be administered continuously during the course learning, culminating in a summative assessment at the end of Grade 3.

However, Knec will only develop assessment tools, with teachers administering, scoring and giving feedback to the learners.

Each school will submit the scores for the learners to Knec for analysis and reporting at the national level.

For Grade 4, 5 and 6, school-based assessments will assist in informing mastery of competencies and readiness of learners to transition, and provide feedback to stakeholders such as learners, parents, teachers in subsequent grades and curriculum developers.

“The formative assessments, which shall contribute to the final reporting as learners transit to Junior Secondary schools will entail classroom assessment and school based assessment to be administered by subject teachers during learning in Grade 5 and 6,” reads the report.

This means Grade 6 learners will not only sit the school-based assessments, but will also write a national examination managed by Knec at the end of their education.

And in secondary education, similar school based assessments will be administered across all grades.

At junior secondary school – Grade 7, 8 and 9 – teachers will administer continuous assessments, school based assessments and standardised alternative assessments.

These will be used to identify learners’ areas of interest to guide their selection to the various pathways and tracks as they transition to senior secondary schools.

At senior secondary – Grade 10, 11, and 12, teachers will also assess acquisition of knowledge, skills and competencies in the subjects for certification.

Teachers will play a key role as their school scores will facilitate selection and placement at tertiary level, world of work and career development.

The report has also pitched a strong case for day schooling, terming it cheap, and saying it will drastically reduce cost of education for parents and guardians.

The report says under the 2-6-3-3-3 education system, children exiting to secondary schools will be younger and will still require parental support.

It makes reference to the Basic Education Act (2012), which says learners should join school at the age of six years.

This means by the time the children will get to Grade 7, they will be 12 or 13 years of age.

“Transition from primary to secondary schools is hence considered a significant biological, psycho-social and academic milestone for learners,” reads the report.

It says the age group coincides with the phase when young learners undergo rapid physical, mental and emotional growth and development.

It also says at this stage, children also undergo a crucial period of cognitive, psychosocial and emotional transformation, which require parental support.

Appropriate values

“Learners at this phase of their lives not only require relevant knowledge and skills but also fostering social cohesion and appropriate values, which is enhanced by parental involvement and engagement,” says the report.

Based on these reasons, the report proposed that junior secondary schools be made all day.

It, therefore, proposes that learners leaving primary schools are placed in nearby secondary schools as day scholars.

The Government seems to have started implementation of this proposal by directing school heads to review students’ admissions to Form One places.

In a circular to all regional directors of education, county directors of education and sub-county directors, the ministry directed primary school heads to help children pick day secondary schools near their homes.

The circular by outgoing Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang said candidates’ choices for day schools must be those within their parents’ or guardians’ homes.

“This is a departure from the past where candidates made choices from schools within sub-counties where they sat examinations,” said Kipsang.

This will be a major difference from present practice where some students in day schools are enrolled in institutions far away from their parents’ or guardians’ residence, posing huge transport challenges.

“Kindly advise all schools presenting candidates for KCPE that the choice of the day schools will be based on the parents/guardians area of residence,” said Kipsang, in a circular dated February 11.

The PS said cases where parents admitted their children to day schools far away from where they live must stop.

The directive means all candidates who had selected day schools away from their parents’ or guardians’ homes will have to revise their choices.

“In order to enable the Ministry place all learners to secondary schools centrally, candidates must revise their Sub County (day school) school choices,” said Kipsang.

The daunting task of making schools ready for the planned day school move is also evident in the report.

It proposes that the Government identifies secondary schools, which are within the proximity of existing primary schools where learners can join junior secondary schools as day scholars.

Report also proposes that some schools are merged and existing idle facilities like dormitories converted into classrooms.

The overall infrastructure development has also been proposed by the report, advising that schools that require a boost be identified.

“Identification of special circumstances that may require establishment of new day secondary schools where need should arise such as underutilised primary school facilities can be used to create a secondary school,” reads the report.

It also proposes utilisation of vacant tuition blocks in primary schools that neighbour the secondary institutions.

And making multi-purpose use of the existing tuition facilities, rationalised use of dormitories and other idle facilities has also been proposed.

Overall, the report points at huge infrastructure and staffing challenges that will require huge financial resources during the rollout of the new education system.

Billions of shillings will be required at basic, tertiary and university levels to construct new classrooms, recruit more teaching staff and training of existing staff in an elaborate plan to implement the CBC.

Report proposes that the Government undertakes progressive expansion of capacities of existing secondary schools that have adequate land to accommodate more learners in 2023.

In addition to this, the Government will be required to make provision for primary schools that have adequate infrastructure to establish a junior secondary school.

And schools in close proximity would be merged and the infrastructure in one improved to create a junior secondary school.

“Develop a framework to facilitate sharing and management of infrastructure among primary and secondary schools that will be established in the same compound,” reads the report.

As new Basic Education PS Julius Jwan and KICD Chairperson Sarah Ruto take over the implementation of the system, it is clear that the next four years will be crucial for the national rollout.

Dr Ruto and Jwan, under the supervision of Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, will now face the daunting task of making ready basic education institutions to conform with the new transition challenges.

A detailed plan of activities seen by the Saturday Standard reveals that by 2025, enough classrooms should have been constructed to foster smooth transition of learners from primary to secondary schools.

After completion of primary education at Grade 6, the learners will join junior secondary school under Grades 7, 8 and 9, which will be domiciled in the present secondary schools.

An implementation schedule reveals that between now and 2025 will witness a flurry of activities that will touch on staff recruitment and improvement, infrastructure expansion, courses revision and review of admissions criterion to ease transitions.

At basic education level, the ministry must develop a database for the existing public primary and secondary schools, including those in special schools by June this year.

Around the same time, the ministry should have developed infrastructure norms and standards for all basic education institutions and teachers training colleges.

The timetable requires that between now and December, the ministry should have developed and operationalised a framework for infrastructure management and sharing for primary, secondary and TVET institutions.

Overall, the report requires an elaborate plan on staff training and development. The minimum entry grade to teachers training colleges must be raised to C by next month and guidelines published, and new guidelines for internship for newly trained teachers developed and adopted by May this year.

At university level, guidelines on establishment of new universities must be done by 2023 and 2025.

And between now and 2024, report recommends an audit of universities infrastructure to determine capacity to host CBC pathways and tracks.

During the same period, the government must construct requisite infrastructure and equip universities, especially in STEM, and arts and sports pathways and tracks.

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East-Africa

President Uhuru Takes Over EAC Chairmanship

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President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya has taken over the Chairmanship of East African Community (EAC)  bloc.

“Thank you for showing confidence, faith and trust in me. I promise to do all I can to take our region to greater heights,” Uhuru said on Saturday.

The Kenyan President assured that he will spare no effort towards the realization of the shared aspirations that gave rebirth to the community 20 years ago.

Uhuru spoke when he addressed the 21st Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held virtually due to Covid-19 after taking over the chairmanship from Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

He hailed the late former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi and the late former President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, acknowledging the role they played together with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in the rebirth of EAC 20 years ago.

President Uhuru outlined his vision for the bloc, saying he will focus on strengthening of partnerships to enhance intra-EAC connectivity and ensuring sustainable implementation of projects and programs in productive sectors.

He emphasized the need for partner states to harmonize their commitment on free movement of people, workers and services as envisaged in the region’s common market protocol.

President Kenyatta announced Kenya’s decision to remove visa requirement for South Sudanese nationals visiting the country as an act of reciprocity.

President Kagame congratulated President Kenyatta on his assumption of the chairmanship of the EAC and welcomed Dr Mathuki as the new EAC Secretary General.

The East African Community bloc is composed of six countries in the African Great Lakes region in eastern Africa: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

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Business

UK Firm, Bioline Agrosciences, Acquires Kenya’s Dudutech

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Dudutech, a division of Flamingo Group International, announces that they have been acquired by Bioline Agrosciences, a subsidiary of InVivo Group.

By joining up with Bioline Agrosciences (InVivo), Dudutech becomes part of a world-class IPM provider, with over 40 years of experience in the manufacturing and distribution of biologicals.

Established in 2001, Dudutech is Africa’s leader in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with a wealth of experience in designing and delivering biological pest control solutions.

With its new biofactory in Kenya Bioline Agrosciences owns now 8 production sites in the world (Europe/ North America and Africa).

Tom Mason, Managing Director of Dudutech said, “this acquisition is a unique chance for us to affirm our leading position in Africa, combining our technologies with the well-known brand and the extensive experience of Bioline Agrosciences.”

“We look forward to working with the global Bioline team to enhance our service and product offering and to contribute to a future with sustainable, secure, and safe agriculture,” Mason added.

Giles Turrell, CEO of the Flamingo Group, said that Flamingo, with its substantial Growing operations in Kenya and Ethiopia, will continue to use Integrated Crop Management solutions as a production strategy.

“Therefore, it made sense for us to select Bioline Agrosciences as the future owner of Dudutech and preferred supplier. Our leading position in technology with a strong commitment to sustainable farming, will ensure premium quality and innovative biocontrol solutions are widely available for our Group,” Turrell said.

This new site in Kenya will be the tool for spearheading Bioline Group’s expansion in Africa to promote new environmental-friendly technologies in agriculture, according to Laurent Martel, CEO of Bioline Group.

Thierry Blandinières, CEO of InVivo group, believes that “this acquisition is a huge step for Bioline, our agricultural subsidiary, which is becoming a major player in biocontrol at the international level.”

He added that it’s perfectly aligned with the company’s vision to promote the agricultural and food transition towards a resilient agrosystem, by deploying innovative and responsible solutions and products.

The biocontrol market is growing strongly, and the acquisition of Dudutech will allow Bioline Agrosciences to increase technological leadership and complete product portfolio.

“This is a unique opportunity to specialize in flower production by creating this partnership with the Flamingo Group and to bring our 40-year-old expertise on other crops in the region,” said Ludwik Pokorny, CEO of Bioline Agrosciences.

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East-Africa

Italian Ambassador To Congo Killed In Attack

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Italian ambassador to DR Congo has died from hospital after an attack on UN convoy in the east of the country, local authorities said. Two more people died in the attack.

The convoy was attacked near the town of Kanyamahoro at around 10:15 a.m. (0815 GMT) and was part of a kidnap attempt, the Virunga National Park told Reuters.

The identity of the two people who were killed was not immediately clear. The Italian ambassador was evacuated after park rangers intervened, the park said.

Many armed groups operate in and around Virunga, which lies along Congo’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda, and they have repeatedly attacked Virunga rangers.

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