Learning experience in the Kenyan primary schools with the lens of paradigm shift to the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC)

Document Type

Conference Paper

Conference Name

17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference

Conference Location

Valencia, Spain



Publication (Name of Journal)

INTED2023 Proceedings


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa






Global demands for the 21st Century skills have prompted developing countries like Kenya to effect a paradigm shift in curriculum from the content-based curriculum to a competence-based one. The shift to Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) is geared towards improving the quality of education, thus it prompts the need for focusing on appropriate pedagogy and appropriate learning experiences in the classroom. This in turn puts teacher professional learning in focus since teachers are key for any country to thrive in the education sector and achieve quality education and meaningful learning outcomes. This study explored pedagogical practices and learning experiences employed by the student teachers in their classroom discourse in primary schools in Kenya. It also sought to explore teacher educators’ pedagogical practices during the preparation of the student teachers. This study, grounded by the constructivist learning theory by Vygotsky, that human beings construct knowledge from their experiences and interactions draws on evidence from the Longitudinal Study: Foundation for Learning Project by AKU- IED, EA to establish the best practices that the teacher educators can adopt to inform the professional learning of Student Teachers to become effective champion teachers and effective implementers of CBC. The study adopted mixed method using questionnaires, interview schedules, observation Schedule and a document analysis protocol to collect data. Thirty percent of the target population was sampled to participate in the study; that is, the study had a sample size of 75, which comprised of 10 Tutors of Shanzu TTC in Kenya and 65 Student teachers on practicum in ten public primary schools. Qualitative data was analyzed thematically whereas quantitative data was summarized using percentages and frequencies. The findings from both qualitative and the quantitative data revealed that most student teachers have a good knowledge on competence-based curriculum. For instance, in aspects concerning engaging learners in competence-based learning activities, ability to practice competence-based teaching, knowledge on the characteristics of CBC, and planning a CBC lesson. This indicates an appreciation of the importance attached to professional document for effective teaching. In addition, the participating teachers were able embrace learner-centered pedagogy for instance, group discussions, role play, demonstration, questioning and manipulation of realia. This is an indicator of appreciating the learning experiences CBC encompasses. However, the challenge of large classes seemed to inhibit effectiveness of some group activities and teachers seemed unable to engage all learners. This paper concludes by making recommendations to the education stakeholders about how champion teachers who are capable of effectively implementing the CBC could be prepared.