Important Note: In October 2022, the government of Kenya established a taskforce to collect public views on the implementation of the Competency-based Curriculum (CBC) and make recommendations. The collection of public opinions was concluded in November 2022. The government is currently reviewing the findings. Once this process is completed, we will update this article to include the changes that will be made to the curriculum.

Do you want to know what are the requirements, subjects, lessons and examination process of upper primary school? 

The Kenyan education system underwent significant changes with the introduction of the competency-based curriculum (CBC) in December 2017. These changes encompassed modifications in subject matter, examination approaches, and the introduction of new levels. 

The upper primary level, which includes grades 4, 5, and 6, is intended for learners aged between 9 and 11 years who have completed lower primary education. At grade 6, a national examination is administered to measure learners’ proficiency in the subjects taught at this stage.

Additional information on the other stages of CBC are:

Subjects and lessons for Grades 4, 5 and 6 under the Kenya CBC system

  • At least ten subjects must be taught in upper primary school. 
  • Learners are also expected to choose one foreign language as an extra subject. This can be Arabic, French, German or Mandarin. 
  • Every week, there will be two lessons of the foreign language. 
  • Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills are also taught in every subject.
  • Teachers also make sure pupils learn basic life skills and other real-life experiences.

The subjects that must be taken in Grades 4, 5 and 6 per week are:

  1. Four English classes 
  2. Four Kiswahili or Kenya Sign Language lessons for people with hearing impairment Three Home Science lessons
  3. Three Agriculture lessons 
  4. Four Science and Technology lessons
  5. Five Mathematics lessons 
  6. Three Religious Education lessons - Christian, Islamic or Hindu Religious Education
  7. Three Creative Arts lessons 
  8. Five Physical and Health Education lessons 
  9. Three Social Studies lessons 

Also, learners will take part in pastoral program instruction (PPI) once in a week to learn about and practice their faith, behavioral and emotional wellbeing with the help of religious institutions and leaders.

Learners with physical disabilities are normally integrated into mainstream classes. Learners with sight and hearing disabilities are taught by trained Special Need Education (SNE) teachers in special schools and their learning material is translated to braille and Kenyan Sign Language (KSL).

CBC learning tools for Grade 4, 5 and 6 pupils.

Learners in upper primary schools will be introduced with different tools while attending different subjects. This help learners to gain practical knowledge on the subjects they study. 

  • Agriculture

To learn agriculture practically, teachers will use tools based on the subject’s needs. Common tools learners will be using; hammer, pliers, knife, garden trowel, panga, jembe, slasher, spade, shovel, wheelbarrow, manure fork, fork jembe, tape measure, string, secateurs, pruning saw and watering can are all common tools used to learn agriculture.

  • Creative arts

Learners will study how to value their creativity and practice to excel in areas and like carving, leather work, indigenous and digital design, picture marking and craftmanship. Most of the tools they will use are common and available like; used leather, adhesive/glue, needles, threads, beads, paper, pencil, drawing books, wood, leather cutting tools, leather punch, sample carvings, sculptures, piercing and embedding tools.

  • Home Science

This subject focuses on how to prepare and eat healthy foods, avoid getting sick, general comfort, and safety in the home, taking care of personal hygiene, making a budget and buying things. Learners will learn by watching videos, viewing pictures, or using real tools such as improvised cooking pots, laundry material, measuring cups, spoons, knives, rolling pins, charcoal stoves, sewing and weaving equipment, crocheting yarns among other items. Learners are also expected to form home science clubs in school for peer learning and community engagements.

  • Science and Technology

The learners learn about the environment, plants, animals under this subject. They also learn about reproductive health and human sexuality. Learners will also learn basic computation, for example, preparing data sheet by using Microsoft excel.  

National CBC examination for learners in sixth grade 

The first ever Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) was conducted in November 2022. KPSEA is designed to evaluate each learner’s abilities at grade six, which is the last year in upper primary, before they move on to junior secondary school education.

Learners take four tests over the course of three days. The tests are administered as Mathematics, English, Kiswahili, and Integrated Science. Home science, agriculture, science and technology, and health are all assessed as Integrated Science.

Learners who need braille, large prints, and Kenya Sign Language can also take the tests with certain adjustments in the duration of the exams. The adjustments are:

  1. Mathematics and Mathematics (Large Print) tests take one hour and 20 minutes, while Mathematics (Braille) takes one hour and 50 minutes. 
  2. English and English (Large Print), tests take one hour while English (KSL), and English (Braille) take one hour 20 minutes.
  3. Kiswahili and Kenyan Sign Language tests last for 1 hour and Kiswahili (Braille) takes one hour and 20 minutes.
  4. Integrated Science tests take one hour and 40 minutes, and Integrated Science (Large Print) and Integrated Science (Braille) exams take two hours and 10 minutes.

Once the results have been made public by the ministry of education, parents and guardians can get the KPSEA results from the pupil’s school. All learners can move on to junior secondary schools no matter how well they did on their upper primary tests.

You can access more information on the Kenyan CBC education system through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) website.

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