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.

In December 2017, the Kenyan Ministry of Education rolled out a new education system, the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) to replace the old system. Primary education was previously covered in 8 years, followed by four years of secondary education and another 4 to cover tertiary level learning. The new system replaced the old (8-4-4) system spreading learning into four phases of two, six, three and three (2-6-3-3) years. CBC is presently being used for teaching and evaluating students in Kenya. 

In this article, Julisha.Info covers what you need to know about pre-primary education under the CBC system in Kenya. Read along to understand what is required to enroll your kids in school, and what they will learn in their first years in school under the new curriculum. 

Kenyans or foreigners with a Kenyan birth certificate, Refugee ID or Alien Card can enroll in Kenya’s education system. 

If you are a refugee or an asylum seeker in Kenya, you can also have your children enrolled in schools in the camps if you have a Ration Card or, Proof of Registration (Manifest). The children can join schools the camps or other parts of the country if you are living outside the camps. If you do not have any of these documents, your child will still have a right to be in school. The school head has to be informed of the loss or lack of the required documents.

When should a child join pre-primary school? 

Parents and guardians are expected to enroll their children in school as soon as they reach the age of four. 

The first level of education under CBC, is at the pre-primary stage where learners are engaged in their early years of education. Pre-primary education is divided into two levels:   

  • Level I (Pre-primary 1- PP1) for children aged four years 
  • Level II (Pre-primary 2- PP2) for children aged five years.   

The subjects (also known as learning areas in CBC) taught at PP1 and PP2 are: 

  • Language and communication,  
  • Mathematics  
  • Environment 
  • Psychomotor (physical activity learning) and creative (Music, Art and Crafts)   
  • Religion. 


Graphic illustrating the levels of education for learners at pre-primary level in Kenya. (Source: Julisha.Info) 

Which languages are used to teach   PP1 and PP2 learners? 

Teaching at pre-primary and lower primary level is done using the language used at the school’s catchment area. Teachers are also engaged from the locality to simplify learning. 

Learning is supported by the teacher’s translation to the language used in the school’s locality. In cosmopolitan or urban areas, teachers use English and Swahili. 

At this level, children learn to express their feelings, ideas, and opinions clearly and with confidence and in a language they understand. In addition, learners will be prepared to learn how to read and write. The actual reading and writing instructions are under Grade 1, 2 and 3 of the CBC education system. 

  • What to expect from a child after they complete their PP1 and PP2 education 
  • Gain appropriate communication skills, such as listening, speaking, reading and writing.  
  • Have basic drawing and picture making skills; painting, coloring, weaving, making shapes, bracelet making, and beading 
  • Counting numbers (1-50), measurement, and Kenyan currency identification, patterns 
  • Learn basic time and daily routines. 
  • Start observing proper hygiene, sanitation, and nutrition (handwashing, dressing, cleaning nose, toileting, feeding).  
  • Demonstrate understanding of religious values and basic knowledge of Christian/Islamic/Hindu religious education. Teachers are required to help the learners to appreciate people of different religious backgrounds. 

Will learners take examinations at pre-primary level? 

Under CBC, evaluations for pre-primary level schooling are done through oral questions, observation and documentation of the activities and achievements, and their participation in all learning areas. The learners’ progress in school will be evaluated and as per the below criteria: 

  • Above expectations - The highest of the score awarded when a learner correctly performs or completes all activities as expected in each learning area. 
  • Meets expectations - The pupil correctly follows instructions; properly perform tasks and complete most activities in each learning area. 
  • Approaches expectations - Learner attempts to follow instructions but is inconsistent with completing tasks or activities in the different learning areas. 
  • Below expectations - Where a learner is observed to have major inaccuracies or inability to complete tasks as instructed by the teacher. 


Graphic: An illustration of the levels of education under the competency-based curriculum (CBC) in Kenya. (Source: KICD) 

Common CBC learning materials for pre-primary learning  

Parents and caregivers of children enrolled in pre-primary education are required to provide learners with easily available materials to promote learning and evaluation at school. Some products are offered in schools, while other must be provided to learners at home. These may include: 

  • Natural, man-made environment 
  • Videos and Audio-visual and digital material 
  • Print materials –textbooks, workbooks, posters, Good News Bible 
  • Weather instruments, pictures, photographs, and drawings 
  • Newspapers, magazines and newsprints 
  • Charts, flashcards, soil, threads 
  • Domestic utensils, cloth materials, containers 
  • Toilet facilities and hygiene materials –handwashing and teeth brushing materials 
  • Improvised materials and equipment 
  • Water, light, sound sources – drums, sticks, metals, beads, feathers  

 Please note that in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR together with partner agencies provides access to education (all learning and teaching materials) free of charge to all learners.  

You can learn more about the CBC education system in Kenya by reading this material published on the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) website. 


If you have any questions, please write to us via the Julisha.Info Facebook page, or chat with us on WhatsApp (+254110601820) Monday through Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.