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HAS OUR 8-4-4 CURRICULUM FAILED?

A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE LINK BETWEEN EDUCATION AND SOCIETY

8-4-4 curriculum in Kenya
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During one of my sociology classes, I was meant to understand that education is a process through which an individual acquires knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that enable him or her to live in a harmony with other people in the society. The 8-4-4 system thus is no exception since it plays a key role in determining the final products that we send out to live with other people in the society. Therefore, the question that we should be asking ourselves is whether these 8-4-4 products are fit enough to pull their ark together especially when the boat rocks or when high levels of self -control can be traded with worldly pleasures and desires of the flesh.

This question obliges us to go back to the drawing board and critically analyze the vision of the pioneers and proponents of this system of education. I wonder whether the current happenings are what they really envisioned 34 years down the line if my memory serves me right. By ‘happenings’ I am referring to the rising cases of suicide and promiscuity among our youth today.

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The emphasis of our Kenyan education lies in the very national goals of education. These include:

  1. Fostering nationalism, patriotism, and promoting national unity
  2. Promoting individual development and self fulfilment
  3. Promoting individual development and self fulfilment
  4. Promoting sound moral and religious values
  5. Promoting social equality and responsibility
  6. Promoting respect for and development of Kenya’s rich and varied cultures
  7. Promoting international consciousness and fostering a positive attitude towards other nations
  8. Promoting positive attitudes towards good health and environmental protection.

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I am personally interested in goal number 2 that is ‘Promoting individual development and self fulfillment.’ I am quite sure that the pioneers’ interpretation of individual development was only narrowed down to careers and the living standards. No. It has a wider meaning which encompasses the emotional development or maturity of the individual. This brings me to my point of departure.

One week ago two of our students committed suicide-one by hanging himself with a rope and the other simply gobbled a cupful of poison. This he did following a mere scuffle and stupid rivalry with his friend over a form one girlfriend. This bizarre incident left me in deep thought. This is not the only case; statistics indicate that the rate at which Kenyan university students are committing suicide is on the rise. Although Kenyan universities have been reluctant on sharing statistics, there are over twenty documented cases of students who have committed suicide. Some of the reasons/ causes cited include failure to perform well in the examinations, undue pressure from parents or guardians, unnecessary competition etc.  It is therefore time we close examined our system for it seems to focus more on intelligence and good grades rather than the emotional well- being of the learner. If these students are meant to understand that there is more to life than just straight As and that their life matters, then we can easily end up producing emotionally balanced individuals. It is unfortunate that the only place whereby these attitude can be developed in school. So has the Kenyan school system failed miserably?

Finally, I would also like to refer to goal number 4 which is’ Promoting sound moral and religious values.’ This takes us back to the painful memories of Kenyan high school students who hit the headlines on several occasions for the wrong reasons. These students were found having pre-marital sex under the influence of alcohol and hard drugs. This is a clear proof that there is a loophole in the Kenyan education system since it has failed to impart sound moral and religious values among our youth. There is a problem and we cannot help by burying our heads in the sand like ostriches. Therefore, all of us have a responsibility of guiding these youth towards the right path.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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