CBC curriculum system structure Kenya

Understand the CBC curriculum system structure Kenya what is taught, structure of this education system, difference between CBC & 844 education system and how many years CBC takes on this guide. CBC in full means competency based curriculum. This curriculum was introduced in 2017 by Kenya institute of curriculum development it was meant to replace the 8-4-4 system.

Difference between CBC and 8-4-4 education system

First of all since the inception of education in Kenya there has been a roll out of two curriculums in Kenya followed by the current CBC system. The first curriculum was the 7-4-2-3 the first ever curriculum in Kenya which was later changed to 8-4-4 education system in 1985 running until 2017

  • 7-4-2-3 7 (years primary school, 4 years in lower secondary schools 2 years in upper secondary school and 3 years minimum in university education)
  • 8-4-4 ( 8 years in primary school, 4 years in secondary school and 4 years in university education)
  • 2-6-3-3-3 new CBC system ( 2 years in pre primary education 6 years in primary education 3 years in junior secondary education, 3 years in senior secondary education & 3 years minimum in university education.

CBC curriculum system structure Kenya

Now we shall fully focus and answer all you need to know about the CBC curriculum structure in Kenya. The difference between 844 and CBC education system

  • with 8-4-4 system KNEC examination was administered twice after completing primary school and after completing secondary school while the CBC system instead of the KNEC examination assessment is done to students at end of grade 6 and end of grade 9
  • 8-4-4 system it was known with classes 1-8 for primary but with CBC it is known with grades for example its pre primary(nursery) followed by primary education(grade 1-6) then junior secondary education (grade7-9), senior secondary education(grade 10-12) and finally university or tertiary education
  • The 8-4-4 system was ruled out for being too expensive, broad and burdensome to learners with the latter being largely blamed for causing strikes in schools. The difference with CBC is that their is a change of emphasis from the tradition of chalk-and-talk teaching, to focusing on the student, by learning in groups and not just memorizing facts, but developing competencies, and understanding core values and important issues.
  • With CBC Learners will not sit exams like in the 8-4-4 system but they will be evaluated through Continuous Assessment Tests (CATs) on the skills acquired as opposed to cramming for exams as has been the case.
  • The 8-4-4 system consists of subjects while with CBC it has been referred to as learning areas.
  • The needs of special needs children have also been incorporated in the curriculum which will integrate ICT at all levels of education.

CBC subjects taught /learning areas of CBC curriculum


  • Kiswahili,
  • English,
  • literacy, and mother tongue
  • Science,
  • social studies
  • Agricultural activities.


  • Kiswahili
  • English,
  • Mathematics,
  • Home Science,
  • Agriculture,
  • Science and Technology,
  • Creative Arts (art, craft and music),
  • Moral and Life Skills
  • Physical and Health Education


  • Mathematics,
  • Kiswahili,
  • English,
  • life skills,
  • health education,
  • social studies,
  • integrated science,
  • business studies,
  • religious education,
  • agriculture,
  • life skills,
  • sports and physical education.

Learners at this level will also be required to take a minimum of one and a maximum of two optional subjects that suit their career choices, personalities, abilities and interests.


  • Arts and sports science,
  • social sciences
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

After this learners will transition to universities or TVETS. Advantages of CBC system include;

  • Student work on their own pace.
  • Flexibility.
  • A ticket to gain real-world experience.
  • Personalized way of teaching.
  • Timely support.
  • Purpose-driven.
  • A novelty in assessment and grading.
  • A different strategy for communicating progress.

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