The former Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General, Wilson Sossion, has expressed his belief that the 8-4-4 education system, implemented in 1985, was the best curriculum ever introduced in the country.
Sossion says that the system, designed to produce self-reliant and globally competitive citizens, was Sabotaged by external interference.
During a Friday morning interview, Sossion said, “The 8-4-4 was the most well-thought-out revolutionary curriculum in Africa that was going to be a panacea to lead Africa to industrialization but it was systematically sabotaged by external forces.”
He specifically pointed to the Kamunge Report of 1988, which introduced cost-sharing with families, disrupting the trajectory of the system.
Sossion defended the 8-4-4 system against claims of being exam-oriented, saying, “The strong knowledge framework is what has made the 8-4-4 what it is and made its graduates the most competitive in the world.”
The former KNUT boss contended that the Koech Commission of 1998 attempted to address funding challenges associated with the 8-4-4 system, proposing significant investments in education. However, he claimed that the reforms were quashed by private school owners.
“We could be jumping from the frying pan to the fire because we have not prepared for CBC. CBC will not succeed unless it sits squarely on the foundation of 8-4-4,” Sossion warned.
Wilson Sossion, Former KNUT Sec Gen: 8-4-4 was one of the most well-thought-out revolutionary education curriculum in Africa but it was systematically sabotaged by external forces. 8-4-4 was supposed to be a skilled-based education system and to churn out self-reliant innovative… pic.twitter.com/aa4UBrtuJF
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) November 24, 2023
Lugari MP, Nabiii Nabwera, echoed Sossion’s sentiments, expressing regret that many aspects of the 8-4-4 system, outlined in the Mackay Report, were never fully implemented. He questioned the viability of transitioning to a new curriculum without first addressing unresolved issues within the existing one.
“I agree with Sossion that no one is willing to invest enough money in education because it needs software investment and it is very difficult to cut a deal. It needs capitation, and we keep increasing money in other infrastructure but education,” Nabwera said.
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Amos Kaburu, Chief Consul at Opticum Group, joined the discussion, highlighting the lack of strong voices in the education sector.
“We systematically, internationally and unashamedly sabotaged 8-4-4. It had good intentions and it was well thought out but we lacked the will and the champions for it, and it may happen again with CBC. We need strong voices to still argue for education. We should not leave education to go on autopilot,” Kaburu said.