Environment Part Of CBC In Mau Forest Complex schools.
More than 170 schools in the country that are located near major water towers have implemented a customized curriculum that incorporates conservation into the regular curriculum.
The move is intended to save the water towers.
In addition to the Competency-Based Curriculum, the schools bordering the Mau Eburu, South West Mau, Aberdares, and Mt Kenya forests use the pioneer syllabus, which covers soil conservation, water, pollution, tourism, and the environment.
“When CBC came in place, we had already designed the curriculum and it was being piloted in schools. The conservation curriculum had exactly what was in some subjects under CBC,” said Alfred Orina, the chair of the teachers’ implementation committee.
The Conservation Education Curriculum program began in 2018 as a result of a public-private partnership between Rhino Ark and the Ministries of Environment, Education, Science, and Technology.
The program is being implemented in 46 schools in South-West Mau, and 32 schools in Eburu. 93 schools have enrolled in Aberdares and Mt Kenya.
The curriculum, however, varies between water towers.
For example, in schools bordering the South West, the curriculum focuses on the forest blocks within the area, emphasizing the challenges, wildlife found there, and what can be done to address the challenges.
Learners in Mt Kenya and Aberdare are taught about tourism, endangered wildlife species, and possible solutions. The curriculum begins in primary school in Grade Four and continues through high school.
Water is widely taught to fourth-grade students. The subject is broad and covers water sources, the importance of wetlands, and why they should be protected.
In Standard Five, the curriculum focuses solely on wildlife, and students are discouraged from hunting, whereas in Standard Six, students are taught about soil, including topics such as soil degradation caused by poor farming practices and charcoal burning.
Students in Standard Seven learn about the environment in general, and in Standard Eight, they are now trained in forestry.
“While undertaking their practical sessions, the learners tend their own tree nurseries and plant trees in part of the degraded areas in the forest,” Orinda said.
While there are no exams on the curriculum, Orina claims that students are evaluated through projects. The lessons are also taught concurrently with other topics.
Adoption of the curriculum, he claims, has resulted in schools developing projects such as water harvesting and tree nurseries, and many have also adopted energy-saving jikos.
Cynthia Chepng’eno, a student at Kures Primary School, says that in addition to providing them with knowledge about their ecosystem, the curriculum has also provided them with revenue from projects.
Isaac Kiplang’at, a Standard Seven student, stated that in addition to restoring the forests by planting trees, they also learn about the various animals found in the South West Mau and why they should be protected.
According to Alphonce Rotich, a Rhino Ark official in South West Mau, the curriculum was developed in collaboration with stakeholders and experts from the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Nema, Nature Kenya, Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, the Ministry of Education, teachers, and conservationists.
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The curriculum also included the training of teachers who would guide students through the lessons. In South West Mau alone, 98 teachers have enrolled in the curriculum, which has since been implemented at the Sub-County level.
According to Rotich, a survey of schools near forests revealed that most of them use an average of 75 tonnes of firewood per month, a situation that was remedied by the installation of charcoal-making kilns in 15 of them.