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I would not ordinarily be interested in curriculum-related development but my two boys will be affected by it so I’m monitoring the situation very closely.

What I know so far is that the old 8-4-4 system will be replaced by 2-6-3-3.

Although I should be more enlightened as a stakeholders about how the system works, I am still in the dark.

All I hear it is that it is a competency-based system. All it will take is for the teacher to observe the child closely, discover what the kid excels in and focus on that skill.

Back in Karugo Group of Schools, we learned a subject called Home Science in our mother tongue and we were taught how to decorate seat covers.

There was no opportunity to decide what you wanted to become in future.

All the boys wanted to become bus drivers, because all the drivers we saw looked very cool and in control of their lives. Not that we saw bus drivers every other day. The bus only appeared in the school once a year to pick the lucky students whose well to do parents had paid for their annual trip to Mwea Tebere to see rice being grown.

Such talks about becoming bus drivers were frowned upon by parents; especially if one was badly behaved in school.

“Mum, I want to be a bus driver when I grow up,” you would start the conversation on a Friday evening after dinner and after gauging your mothers’ mood . You will also have monitored her consistently for about two days.

“Go and wash your school uniform and wash your dirty feet first, with the kind of dirt and untidiness you are displaying you are more likely to become a mole catcher,” she would retort.

If these words were uttered to you, the next intelligent move would be to duck outside before she laid her hands on a thick stick in order to persuade you to finish those chores at a faster pace.

But things have changed and intense career talks nowadays commence as early as baby class.

I can foresee battles here between what the teacher decides, what the child wants and what the parents think they want for their child.


Kim will be caught fighting with Sam, and Kim shall throw a punch and knock off Sam’s teeth. The school board of directors will have to arbitrate to decide whether Kim will become a professional boxer or a dentist.

Kim on his part will say he wants to be a governor, probably in this city or a neighbouring county of Kiambu. His father will settle down on him being a peaceful demonstrator and picketer for hire.

 Ken is fond of placing a convex mirror at the window and observing the movements of teachers along the school corridor lest he is caught making noise in the classroom. His father will suggest that he becomes an astronomer as his first career choice. The mother will think he can make a great matatu driver because he can always tell in advance where the next police road block is. Ken will demand to relocate to the USA and join FBI with immediate effect.

Kate is fond of fetching water and filling all the buckets at home. She will want to be an engineer with Nairobi Water when she grows up and hopefully resolve the city’s perennial water shortage problem. Her mum will insist that she can make a great chef specialising in potatoes, carrots and cabbages stew and specifically trade her culinary skills in Central Kenya where the stew is in high demand.

John who is always up and about and intruding into other classrooms all over the school will insist that he wants to be a tour guide. His daddy will say that his son has a habit called kutangatanga, and that he foresees his son becoming a big politician with ambitions to become the main headmaster of this country. His teacher will support daddy, and indeed add that he has the potential to be very good in defecting from one political party to the other and very gifted in the art of giving and receiving handshakes.

Meanwhile I have lately caught Brian eating his brother’s food while his brother protests loudly. I am sipping my coffee and thinking he can fit very well in the government body that is responsible for collecting taxes from me. But I could be wrong, he would probably wish to become Njoro, my meat roaster who ends up eating half of my quarter meat. Either will do in this case, but if he fails then he can settle at being an enforcement officer manning a busy roadblock.

These are highly decisive moments and we are all watching keenly to see how the new school curriculum unfolds.