CBC Curriculum in Kenya Simply Explained

by | Mar 23, 2022 | EDUCATION | 0 comments

The Competency Based Curriculum, CBC, in Kenya was designed by KICD and launched by the Ministry of Education in 2017. CBC replaces the 8.4.4 education system which has been in existence in Kenyan schools since 1985.

Under the new curriculum (, learners will spend 2 years in pre-primary, 6 years in primary, 3 years in junior secondary, and 3 years in senior secondary.

Thereafter, the learners can then decide to join the world of work or further their careers by joining TVET colleges or Universities.

Read: Grade 4 CBC Course Books Approved by KICD.

The CBC curriculum moves away from focusing on academics and exams to the new system which seeks to produce a child with relevant competencies and character to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

The Core Competencies of the CBC Curriculum

The Competency Based Curriculum focuses on 7 core competencies that cut across all learning areas (subjects) for all learners in the system.

Here are the 7 competencies of CBC:

  1. Communication and Collaboration
  2. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  3. Creativity and Imagination
  4. Citizenship
  5. Self Efficacy
  6. Learning to Learn
  7. Digital Literacy

Some Key Features of CBC

  • Subjects are now called learning areas and objectives referred to as learning outcomes.
  • Classes under the new system are named grades, which start from Grade 1 (former class 1) to Grade 12 (highest class in high school).
  • Topics and sub-topics are now known as strands and sub-strands.
  • Learners do formative assessments using various feedback tools to measure whether they can put into practice what they have learned. Teachers then upload the assessment scores for grades 3 to 6 to KNEC portal.
  • For grades 4, 5, and 6 the internal assessments will contribute 20 percent per grade.
  • There will be a national examination at the end of grade 6 which contributes the remaining 40 percent of the marks.
  • Learners are then placed in various junior secondary schools.
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Structure of the CBC Curriculum

CBC is divided into the following 4 main stages:

  1. Early Years Education
  2. Middle School
  3. Senior School
  4. Tertiary Education
CBC Curriculum Kenya basic model

Learner’s progress in the new CBC curriculum (Image: KICD)

Early Years Education

This stage consists of Pre-primary (PP1 and PP2) and Lower Primary (Grades 1 to 3).

This enables learners to gain basic skills.

PP1 and PP2 Subjects

  • Language Activities
  • Mathematical Activities
  • Environmental Activities
  • Psychomotor and Creative Activities
  • Religious Education Activities
  • Pastoral Programmes of Instruction (PPI)

Lower Primary Subjects

  • Kiswahili Language Activities/ Kenya Sign Language
  • Literacy Activities
  • English Language Activities
  • Mathematics Activities
  • Environmental Activities
  • Hygiene and Nutrition Activities
  • Religious Activities
  • Movement and Creative Activities
  • Pastoral Programmes of Instruction (PPI)

ICT will be integrated at all learning areas and grades.

Middle School

The middle school consists of grades 4, 5, and 6, and junior secondary.

Grades 4, 5 and 6 Subjects

  1. Kiswahili Language or KSL for learners who are deaf
  2. English language
  3. Other Languages (Indigenous, French, German, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese)
  4. Science and Technology
  5. Social Studies (Citizenship, Geography, History)
  6. Mathematics
  7. Home science
  8. Agriculture
  9. Religious Education (CRE/IRE/ HRE)
  10. Creative Arts (Art, Craft, Music)
  11. Physical and Health Education
  12. Pastoral Programmes Instructions

ICT is incorporated in all subjects at all levels.

At the end of grade 6, learners will sit for a national examination before proceeding to junior secondary.

Read Also:   List of CBC Grade 3 Textbooks Approved by KICD

The national exam will contribute 40 percent of the total score. The remaining 60 percent will come from the CATs done at grades 3, 5 and 6.

Junior Secondary Subjects

Junior secondary takes 3 years and consists of grades 7, 8 and 9. Here are the subjects offered at junior secondary:

Core Subjects

  • English   
  • Kiswahili or KSL        
  • Mathematics       
  • Integrated Science            
  • Health Education               
  • Pre-Technical and Pre-Career Education
  • Social Studies      
  • Religious Education (CRE, IRE, HRE)
  • Agriculture
  • Life Skills Education
  • Physical Education and Sports

Optional Subjects (Minimum 1, Maximum 2)

Learners will choose at least one learning area according to skills, interests and career progression. The chosen areas will aid placement in career pathways in the senior secondary school.

  • Visual Arts  
  • Performing Arts  
  • Home Science  
  • Computer Science  
  • Foreign Languages (German, French, Mandarin, Arabic)
  • Indigenous Languages
  • Kenyan Sign Language

Digital literacy is emphasized in all learning areas.

Senior School

This level constitutes senior secondary school grades 10, 11 and 12. Grade 12 is the final year in senior secondary.

At junior secondary school, learners had a chance to explore their abilities and hence which will enable them to specialize in a particular career pathway.

Read Also:   List of Grade 2 CBC Course Books Approved by KICD

There are 3 career pathways in the senior secondary that learners can specialize in. Learners will be guided by their skills and interests to specialize in any one of the following career pathways:

  1. Arts and Sports Science
  2. Social Sciences
  3. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

The chosen career pathway will enable the learner to master skills for a specific job.

At the end of senior secondary, learners can either enter the world of work or further their careers by joining a TVET tertiary college or university.

Tertiary Education

Under the new CBC curriculum, University education will take at least 3 years depending with the area of specialization.

Learners may also decide to join TVET colleges to further their hands-on experience skills. The duration of the TVET course will depend on the area of specialization.

KICD Curriculum Designs

KICD has availed curriculum designs for Early years Education (EYE) that is PP1 up to Grade 3, and Middle School Grades 4, 5 and 6. The curriculum design for Junior Secondary Grade 7 is also available on the KICD website.

Follow this link to access the KICD curriculum designs: https://kicd.ac.ke/cbc-materials/curriculum-designs.

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