The Ministry of Education and Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development have been given 10 days to respond to an application seeking to have them restrained from implementing planned changes in basic education and introducing a 2-6-3-3 curriculum.
High Court Judge Eric Ogola issued the order directing the two institutions, through the Attorney-General, to file their response to the application filed by university lecturer Eric Mugambi.
Mr Mugambi, who teaches mathematics at Technical University of Mombasa, is also seeking an order preventing the ministry and KICD or their employees from implementing the scheduled review in basic education.
He is seeking the orders pending hearing and determination of an application and a petition he has filed at the High Court in Mombasa.
Justice Ogola declined to grant the interim orders being sought by Mr Mugambi until all the parties are heard.
Counsel for AG, Mr Richard Ngari, said he needed more time to respond to the application by Mr Mugambi.
“The prayers being sought are weighty, we need to get sufficient time to prepare ourselves,” Mr Ngari, who also pleaded with the court not to issue the interim orders, said.
He urged the court to take judicial notice that the repeat presidential election had altered the school calendar.
Mr Mugambi is further seeking an order to compel the respondents to hold a national conference within the next 60 days arguing that in three months’ time, the ministry and KICD intend to start implementing the curriculum countrywide in all primary schools.
The lecturer’s application is based on grounds that the implementation period, proposed to review basic education over a six year period starting next year, is not the best since implementation can be achieved in four years for all classes from grade one to 12.
“A six-year implantation strategy will cause a crisis in our schools by admitting two different cohorts of classes the same time into junior secondary schools in 2020 and 2021 when grade six and standard eight students will need admission in secondary education,” Mr Mugambi argued.
He further argued that the subject syllabi documents for all the classes should be provided by KICD from grade one to 12 before implementation of the new basic education curriculum.
“Issuing the complete syllabus will allow fair distribution of learning content across the 12 years of schooling without running into a situation where secondary education is overloaded with content as happened with the 8.4.4 during its introduction,” the lecturer added.
The petitioner contended that the decision to eliminate individual student assessment using a national examination at the end of upper primary by Knec should be withdrawn.
He argued that the proposed number of learning areas or subjects to be taught in the new curriculum had not been properly considered since the course content taught in primary schools would increase with the number of subjects rising hence reducing learning time.
Mr Mugambi said all senior secondary schools in the new curriculum need to have a national admission of students with both boarding and day scholars to ensure fair and equal opportunity to all children for sense of citizenship.
The petitioner also argues that indigenous and foreign languages should be introduced at the same level and that introduction of mother tongue in lower primary will affect negatively the learners’ ability to master Kiswahili and English phonetic.
The case will be heard on October 16.