Teachers Influence in Curriculum Development in Kenya

Master's Thesis, 2020

50 Pages, Grade: B


Table of Contents


Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures


1.1 Conceptual framework and background to the study
1.2 Rationale of the study
1.3 Purpose of the study
1.4 Research aims and objectives
1.5 Research questions

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Curriculum development in Kenya
2.3 Reasons for Curriculum Development
2.4 Motives for Teacher Involvement in Curriculum Development
2.5 Conclusion

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research design
3.3 Sampling strategy
3.4 Data Analysis
3.5 Ethical considerations to secondary research
3.6 Justification of Data collection method

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Analysis of Case Studies
4.3 Summary

5.1 Empowerment of Teachers on their Participation
5.2 The KICD and the role of teachers in curriculum development
5.3 Recommendations
5.4 Suggestions for further research



Appendix 1: Dissemination


This study is about the influence of teachers in curriculum development in Kenya. Previous studies have shown that teachers, as primary stakeholders of the curriculum, are the key implementers of the developed curriculum. Not much is known about their influence in the development of the national curriculum. The study investigates the current level of teacher involvement in curriculum development through an analysis of case studies conducted in Kenya regarding teacher participation in curriculum development. Further, the study investigates how the local curriculum governing body, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), can ensure the full participation of teachers in curriculum development.

The study is desktop research that adopted the use of qualitative methods of data collection and analysis. Documentary analysis was the main data collection tool that was used to analyse case studies for use within the study. Analysis of selected case studies was conducted, and the use of thematic analysis and coding was done to generate results. The study found out that teachers were inadequately conducted during the process of curriculum development in Kenya and most of them were not satisfied with the current curriculum development approach used by the KICD. It was further recommended that there was a need for the KICD to adopt models of teacher involvement in curriculum development that would see that teachers fully participated in curriculum development.

Keywords: curriculum, curriculum development, teacher participation in curriculum development, teacher empowerment, the role of teachers in curriculum development

List of Tables

Table 1 Case Studies

Table 2 Influence of teachers on school governance

Table 3 Teacher participation in school governance

Table 4 Teacher Participation in Curriculum Conceptualization

List of Figures

Figure 1 Teacher Involvement in Curriculum Development


My sincere gratitude goes to the Almighty God for His favour and grace that granted me the patience, motivation, and inspiration to see this work come to completion. I would like to thank the University of South Wales for allowing me to study with them and more thanks to UNICAF for their financial support during the study period. Special thanks to my instructor Dr Leonard Kiarago for his advice, guidance, and unflinching support throughout my study.

Finally, I would like to thank my parents for their psychological support, especially my father, Roy Kithae, for his advice, encouragement, and support during the study period.


This study explores the influence of teachers, as stakeholders, on curriculum development in Kenya. The education system is run by a curriculum, that defines the subject content for each unit studied, hence the curriculum can be seen as the operating system of an institution (Taylor and Richards, 2018). In his book, Warring (2018) indicates that the term curriculum is formed from the Latin word

“Currere” means a pathway or a racing path that one must race through to achieve a certain set target. Henceforth, a curriculum can be defined as a formulated educational programme, through which the aims and objectives of a school or an institution are achieved. To keep up a curriculum with time, the curriculum needs to be dynamic. This means that it should be open to innovation and development so that it does not run out of scope from its set objectives. Hence, a curriculum has got its stakeholders who review it from time to time and propose changes according to the current trends in time.

Since the introduction of a competency-based curriculum in Kenya, there has been a keen interest in how it shall be developed over time. Several studies have investigated teachers and curriculum development in counties within Kenya, even though we are not yet sure how their influence is perceived throughout the whole country. Teachers are very important players in curriculum development, and that is why they are termed, primary stakeholders. This study evaluated their purpose in the process of curriculum development in Kenya and made recommendations for further practice.

1.1 Conceptual framework and background to the study

This study sought to evaluate teachers' influence on curriculum development in Kenya. It is secondary research, aimed at harmonizing several primary research conducted in Kenya, regarding the participation of teachers in the process of curriculum development. Much primary research has been conducted in several regions in Kenya, mostly at the county and sub-county level, to investigate stakeholder participation in curriculum development in Kenya. This study evaluated the role of teachers as primary stakeholders in the curriculum development process and sought to analyse their position and contribution to the curriculum development process.

Koskei (2015) indicates that all stakeholders play a big part in terms of their contributions towards developing the school curriculum. Teachers are classified under primary stakeholders, for they not only develop the curriculum but also take part in its implementation. Their attitude towards the developed curriculum is a key factor that should be put into consideration for it determines the success of curriculum implementation. Alsubaie (2016) further indicates that teachers play a central role in any process of curriculum development that is undertaken. Teachers hold the task of introducing the curriculum to learners within the classroom meaning that their perception and understanding of the curriculum is very important towards successful implementation.

When the curriculum is developed by different stakeholders without their participation, then the implementation process becomes a challenge for they struggle to first understand its content before going forward to implement. This makes it a very expensive and a time taking activity. Kenya adopted a new competency-based curriculum in January 2018 hence phasing out the former academic curriculum (Murungi, Wane & Muthaa, 2019). The new curriculum is in line with the vision 2030 development goals and will require the exploitation of the teachers’ potential in its development and implementation. This study will form a basis for understanding the role of the teacher in curriculum development and aid the education ministry in taking advantage of the teachers’ contribution in developing the curriculum successfully.

Even though this study investigated the teachers’ influence on curriculum development, it also recognized some other factors that may influence the curriculum development process. These factors may be political, social, economic, environmental, or technological, for example, government policy, accreditation, expectations of the labour market, etc. (Makaran, 2015). In this study, the relationship between these external factors and their influence on teachers’ participation in curriculum development was also considered. Minimal attention has been focused on teachers’ participation in curriculum development in Kenya. This study investigated the influence of teachers in curriculum development and made recommendations on how their participation can be banked on to improve the national curriculum in Kenya.

1.2 Rationale of the study

Generally, this study evaluated the participation of teachers in the curriculum development process. It sought to outline how a nation, through its curriculum governing bodies can tap into the knowledge base of the teacher, and gain from their involvement, as stakeholders, in curriculum development. Koskei (2015) concludes that teachers in Kenya are rarely consulted when a new curriculum is being created or a current one is in development. More resources are spent by curriculum governing bodies on benchmarking from developed countries without making adequate consultations from the key implementers of the curriculum, who are the teachers.

At the same time, Alsubaie (2016) suggests that “…there should be major advances in teacher development for teachers to actively reflect on society's needs in each stage of the curriculum development process” (p. 106).

This means that as much as a nation will want to benefit from the teachers’ influence in curriculum development, it should also invest in their development. As a framework for stakeholder involvement in schools in the 21st century for academic excellence, Gichohi (2015), makes three recommendations which are that schools management bodies should consider setting up training workshops for all curriculum stakeholders, institute motivational programs to motivate stakeholders and finally that the education governors should consider strategizing on teacher development as it concerns their contribution in curriculum development. This study sought to justify one of her recommendations that the education ministry should put to consideration coming up with strategies for fostering the development of teachers to improve on the quality of their contribution to curriculum development (Gichohi, 2015, p. 20).

The study further justified the recommendation by Koskei (2015) that “… curriculum developers adopt the participatory approach and involve teachers in a decision concerning their areas of speciality to improve acceptability and consequent effective implementation of curriculum innovations” (p. 86). The research findings of this study are aimed at not only improving the curriculum development process in Kenya but also can be adapted and incorporated by curriculum governing bodies of other countries, especially developing countries where there are challenges in developing the national curriculum.

1.3 Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study was to create a framework for the incorporation of teachers in the curriculum development process. It created awareness by looking into the influence which teachers have on the curriculum and identified ways in which they can help develop it. By researching the contribution of teachers in curriculum development, the study further elaborated on the importance of continuous teacher development through pieces of training and workshops.

1.4 Research aims and objectives

Its main aim was to understand the teachers’ contribution to curriculum development in Kenya. It also sought to highlight the areas teachers can help improve on when seeking to model the curriculum to be better than before. The study further explored the following objectives:

- To determine the extent to which teachers’ understanding of the curriculum affects their contribution to curriculum development.
- To determine the extent to which teachers participate in curriculum development.
- To determine how teachers’ participation in curriculum development can be improved on.
- To identify the best practices in curriculum development in Kenya.

1.5 Research questions

The following research questions were formulated to provide guides towards achieving the research objectives:

- What are teachers’ opinions and understanding on the Kenya national curriculum and why do they hold those beliefs?
- How can teachers participate in curriculum development?
- What is the role of teachers in curriculum development?
- How do the different education levels of teachers affect their participation in curriculum development?


2.1 Introduction

Curriculum development remains one of the most challenging practices, especially in developing countries like Kenya. Involvement of all stakeholders in curriculum development is also a challenge, as the work of curriculum development is left to professionals who determine most of the inclusions when developing the current curriculum. In her study Mulongo (2017) found out that incomplete consultation of all stakeholders brings in challenges in the curriculum implementation process, causing the developed curriculum to be underperceived hence implementation is poor. This chapter will review the relevant literature as it regards teacher participation in curriculum development in Kenya and identifies the relevant gaps in the literature.

This study is based on the Taba model of curriculum development, created by Hilda Taba (Lunenburg, 2011). Hilda Taba, a curriculum reformer, believed that there must be a way of evaluating the impact of a curriculum on its target audience (learners) and as Fraenkel (1994) found out in his research; Hilda held her beliefs that teachers had sufficient knowledge of the student’s welfare hence they are the ones that should develop the curriculum. Teachers implement the curriculum from the grassroots and hence they can perceive the shortcomings of the current curriculum with ease and thus can propose positive amendments to the curriculum, that can result in a successful curriculum implementation process. As Lunenburg (2011) found out, the Taba model opposes the Tyler model in that it advocates for curriculum development to be managed from the grassroots whilst the Tyler model advocates for a sequential and systematic curriculum development process. However, this study still embraces the Tyler model of curriculum development as the Tyler model addresses three factors influencing curriculum development. These factors include the conception of education essentially as experience, its approach to assessment as evaluation rather than as measurement, and its approach to curriculum development as a problem (Walker, 1971).

2.2 Curriculum development in Kenya

Curriculum development in Kenya officially began after Kenya became a republic nation in the year 1964 (Kinuthia, 2009). As Woolman (2001) indicates, a curriculum is usually subject to change since it prepares its audience to fit in the current economic, social, and political society and thus it must be innovated from time to time to keep up with the changes in the society. The developments in the curriculum can be attributed to the changes or reforms that occur to the systems of education in place and can be instituted either externally or internally (Alsubaie, 2016). Internal changes to the curriculum can be instituted by primary stakeholders e.g., teachers, students, headteachers, etc. whilst external changes to the curriculum can be instituted by secondary stakeholders e.g., parents, curriculum developers, educational governors, etc.

Reforms within the curriculum target improvement, professional development, management, and innovation of the curriculum so that the curriculum lives up to the times that it exists (Alsubaie, 2016). Since becoming a republic, Kenya has changed its education system a total number of three times which began from year 1977, after the fall of the East African community, Kenya adopted a 7-4-2-3 curriculum system which later changed to an 8-4-4 system in 1985; and further on changed to a 2-6-3-3-3 system in the year 2016 (Muraraneza, Mtshali &

Mukamana, 2017). These changes are proof that a curriculum is subject to change over time and that a curriculum can become obsolete such that it detours from the set objectives it was set to accomplish. When such a point is arrived at, curriculum developers have to initiate plans to develop the curriculum, so that it is updated and works towards addressing the societal expectations of the curriculum.

2.3 Reasons for Curriculum Development

There are a variety of reasons that can contribute to the need for curriculum development. A curriculum can be developed either internally or externally and thus the reasons for curriculum development can emanate from either of the two places. Generally, as Gichohi (2015) indicated in her study, the environment or the society surrounding the institutions provides a reason for curriculum development. As much as the curriculum is meant for the development of the institutions, students, and teachers; the curriculum also targets the development of society in general.

Bunyi (2013) found out that the national curriculum plays a very important role in the development of the economy of a country. A curriculum will work towards addressing issues like the environment, politics, climate change, sustainable development, etc., and thus it is developed according to the needs of a particular country so that it steers the learners towards working to achieve the national goals (Kinuthia, 2009). For instance, Kenya changed from the 8-4-4 academic curriculum model to the 2-6-3-3-3 competency-based curriculum model to address the issue of poverty through job creation in entrepreneurship (Mulongo, 2017). This shows that as much as the 8-4-4 curriculum model was in effect and was producing scholars, it was not addressing the needs of the country which aimed at eradicating poverty. Curriculum innovators had to model the curriculum to suit the national goals and thus a competency-based curriculum was put in place to enable the learner to develop both academically and professionally to the extent that they can embark on self-employment in case there aren’t sufficient job opportunities within the country.

According to literature, some other reasons that back the need for curriculum development include improving access to education, structural, organisational, systemic, and pedagogical changes in the education system (Handelzalts, 2019). According to Handelzalts (2019) improving education access means that the curriculum is modelled to incorporate more learners with different abilities and being able to facilitate their education based on their interests. According to (Verger, Novelli & Altinyelken, 2018) improving access to education is in direct connection with the World Bank agenda on global education policy and can be instituted through curriculum development.

Structural changes, as Mulongo (2017) puts it, are the overall rearrangement of the learning stages within an education system to fit a certain curriculum model. These changes are put forth by the national education ministry and can be because of the requirements of a new curriculum. For instance, when Kenya switched from an academic curriculum to a competency-based curriculum, the education administrators had to change the education system from an 8-4-4 system to a 2-6-3-3 system, so that it could accommodate the requirements of the competency-based curriculum model. Makaran (2015) indicated that organizational change affected curriculum development mostly in higher education, in the case that a higher institution wanted to develop its curriculum. Some reasons attributed to that include the introduction of new courses or departments.

2.4 Motives for Teacher Involvement in Curriculum Development

In a study looking into the influence of teachers in curriculum development, it is quite important to investigate the motives that could foster the campaign for the participation of teachers in curriculum development. According to Kobiah (2016), when teachers are incorporated in the curriculum development process, it does not only improve their self-esteem, but also the esteem of their students. Teachers hold the capacity to impose knowledge on students and it is through their interaction with students, that they can draw out best practices that can be inculcated into the curriculum to make learning more efficient. As Gichohi (2016) indicated in her research, participatory curriculum development is key towards achieving productivity, efficiency, and other valued organizational goals.

Furthermore, teachers’ involvement will not only improve on content but also the quality of decision-making within the curriculum development process. Gichohi (2016) further indicates that the involvement of teachers in curriculum development will give the development committee access to important information regarding the ongoings within the classroom setting as well as enhance teacher satisfaction with the curriculum content. The campaign for full participation of the teacher in curriculum development is, therefore, an important area for research. It creates room for understanding the view of the curriculum by the primary stakeholders and how the curriculum can be approached from the grassroots during development.

2.5 Conclusion

From various research in literature by different scholars, it is evident that teachers hold a great consortium of knowledge, which is critical in the curriculum development process. Teachers operate at the grassroots, which means that they are the key facilitators of curriculum implementation. When the curriculum is gullible for the teachers, its implementation proceeds with ease, thus bringing forth improved performance from learners. Previous literature in curriculum development has shown that there is a need for research in teacher participation in curriculum development, and one of the ways of doing this is through investigating their influence on curriculum development. Current research agrees that teachers provide critical information useful in the curriculum development process; however, a continuation of current research in-depth will help justify the influence of teachers in curriculum development.


3.1 Introduction

In the previous chapter, the study introduced curriculum development, its definitions, and importance, and further reviewed relevant literature regarding teachers’ influence in curriculum development in Kenya. This research study is a desktop study that was developed using data collected from a variety of various secondary sources based on a naturalistic study on the same area under research. Henceforth, this chapter will investigate the research design adopted, the sampling strategy, the ethical considerations to the research method used, and finally the justification for the suitability of the research approach used.

3.2 Research design

This study was desktop research that was based on exploratory methods and was aimed at creating awareness for the increased participation of teachers in the curriculum development process in Kenya. Hewson & Stewart (2014) define desktop research (or secondary research) as a kind of research that involves working with already existing data to develop and analyze new hypotheses. As compared to primary research, which is based on working with raw data, secondary research works on the best available data which has been documented and works with these data to develop new research. Reiter (2017) recognizes exploratory research as formulated research that aims at building more on current research on a particular subject. These types of research usually work on current information on the subject and work towards filling in gaps in study to provide a


Excerpt out of 50 pages


Teachers Influence in Curriculum Development in Kenya
University of South Wales
MA Education (Innovation in Learning and Teaching)
Catalog Number
ISBN (Book)
teachers, influence, curriculum, development, kenya
Quote paper
Daniel Vincent Nyamai (Author), 2020, Teachers Influence in Curriculum Development in Kenya, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1175810


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