Quality Education


The competency-based curriculum is the new education system in Kenya that is set to replace the 8-4-4 system (eight years of primary schooling, four years at the secondary level, and a minimum of four years of university education), which has been in operation since 1985. It was introduced in 2017 and consisted of: 2 years in pre-primary education, 6 years in primary education, 3 years in junior secondary, 3 years in senior secondary education, and 3 years (minimum) in university education, making it a 2-6-3-3-3 education cycle. The 8-4-4 system has not provided flexible education pathways, so CBC is being introduced. In CBC, students are assisted and not taught, with more focus on the ability of the student to self-learn and acquire skills. The 8-4-4 system was a teacher-based system where the teacher was at the centre of learning.

How is CBC different from 8-4-4?

CBC aims to be a more student-based system, with more focus on the ability of the student to self-learn and develop essential skills required for any engagement. While the 8-4-4 system concentrates more on passing exams with a lot of memorization of the content, CBC learners will not sit for any major exam. Still, they will be evaluated through continuous assessment tests on the acquired skills.

Advantages of competence-based curriculum

  • A skill-based training program that ensures quality- Its main principle lies in practising quality learning that serves all students.
  • Flexibility- It doesn’t matter when and where they acquire their knowledge; students can enter a program at any level with enough credit given to their prior experience.
  • Accommodates everyone- With the new training and improved facilities, the CBC program has equal chances for all Kenyans.
  • Closer teacher-student interaction- CBC requires the teacher to study a child and know his/her strengths and weaknesses.
  • An improved way of grading and assessment- Students are graded according to their work and how they improve over time.
  • Self-efficiency- A learner with strong self-efficacy can accomplish personal tasks in many ways.
  • Room for authenticity in learning and assessment-With competency-based education, teachers facilitate authentic tasks and assessments for students instead of a seat in tests. These assessments are more engaging for the students.

Successes of CBC since its implementation

  • Performance-based assessment has led to a more accurate evaluation of learners’ abilities and skills.
  • Education has become more inclusive because of the different learning styles and paces, allowing learners to progress at their speed.
  • CBC has involved parents, teachers, and the community in the education process, increasing the overall quality of education.
  • The CBC curriculum has encouraged the importance of local context, considering the needs and realities of the country and its people.
  • Education has been more effective and engaging for the students because of the incorporation of technology into the curriculum.
  • The overall academic outcome has improved due to increased student engagement and motivation since the Competency-based curriculum emphasizes student-centred learning. 
  • Graduates are now more employable because the curriculum emphasizes developing practical skills and mastery that are important, preparing them for the job market.
  • Implementing the competency-based curriculum has also led to advanced teacher training and professional development, ensuring better teaching practices.



With technological intervention’s invention in learning analytics and other learning systems, CBC is now taking up splendid adaptability and improvement. CBC’s main aim is to enhance and personalize student experiences. The competency-based curriculum is a natural way to instil innate perseverance and love for learning in students as drivers of their education.

Harriet Nyagah Muthoni


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