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Here is the new curriculum to replace the 8-4-4 system

The 8-4-4 education system is set for an overhaul on Thursday when a new curriculum will be unveiled.

The new structure has three levels: early years, middle school and senior school education, and will be launched at a national curriculum conference in Nairobi.

However, the number of years students will spend in tertiary institutions is not indicated in the new system.

On Sunday, technical experts from the Education ministry and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development were putting final touches to the document.


On Tuesday, the national steering committee, which comprises all education stakeholders, will meet to approve the document before it is presented to the National Conference ahead of piloting of the curriculum.

The 8-4-4 system, that has been in existence since 1985, has been widely criticised for being expansive, heavily loaded in terms of content and too examination-oriented, which put undue pressure on the learners.

The Nation has learned that one of the options the conference is likely be presented with is from a 2012 report of a taskforce chaired by Prof Douglas Odhiambo, which proposed the scrapping of 8-4-4.

Instead, it recommended a 2-6-3-3-3 system which it said would ensure learners acquired skills to meet the human resource Vision 2030 aspirations.

According to the document, in the early years category, students will spend two years in pre-primary and three years in lower primary school education.


The middle school level of education will comprise three years of upper primary and three years of junior secondary education.

By the time they complete early years education, the learners should be able to demonstrate basic literacy and numeracy skills and communicate appropriately using verbal and/or non-verbal modes, says the Basic Education curriculum framework.

Under upper primary, learners will be exposed to a broad curriculum and given an opportunity for exploration and experimentation.

According to the framework, at Grade 4, learners will be introduced to the optional subjects offered at upper primary so as to make informed choices at Grade 7.

“Graduates of primary school Grade 6 shall join lower secondary at Grade 7. Lower secondary will expose the learner to a broad-based curriculum to enable them to explore their own abilities, personality and potential as a basis for choosing subjects according to career paths of interest at the senior school,” it adds.

In the senior school category, learners, in the age bracket of 15 to 17 years, will spend three years. This level lays the foundation for further education and training at the tertiary level and the world of work.

“Senior schools will be required to, therefore, organise open days to enable learners and parents to glean the information necessary for effective decision making,” says the document.