The Competency Based Curriculum Secondary education in Kenya is organized into two levels namely, Lower Secondary (Grades 7, 8 and 9) and Senior Secondary School (Grades 10, 11 and 12).

The outcome of extensive stakeholder engagement, a national needs assessment study, deliberations from a national curriculum reform conference and several benchmarking studies were done through the Basic Education Curriculum Framework (BECF). The Framework was aligned to the Constitution of Kenya, Vision 2030 and the Global Standards UNESCO-IBE which recommends curriculum review every 5 years.

Thus, the learning areas are geared towards reforming the education sector to provide for the holistic development of learners through Competency Based Curriculum. The curriculum offers the learners with the opportunity for early identification and nurturing of their talents, acquisition of values and introduction of three learning pathways at Senior Secondary School level.

Subjects for Lower Secondary School

Subjects offered in Junior Secondary School are in two categories (core subjects and optional subjects) and target to enable the learner to explore their own interests and potential in preparation for career paths of interest at senior secondary level.

The learning areas are:

Core learning areas

  • English, Kiswahili or Kenyan Sign Language for learners with hearing  impairment
  • Mathematics
  • Integrated Science
  • Health Education
  • Pre-Technical and Pre-Career Education
  • Social Studies
  • Religious Education (Christian Religious Education, Islamic  Religious Education or Hindu Religious Education)
  • Business Studies
  • Agriculture
  • Life Skills
  • Sports and Physical Education.

Optional learning areas

Learners are provided with an opportunity to choose a minimum of one and a maximum of two subjects according to personality, abilities, interests and career choices from the list provided:-

  • Visual Arts
  • Performing Arts
  • Home Science
  • Computer Science 
  • Kenyan Sign Language
  • Indigenous Languages and Foreign Languages.
Figure 1: Junior Secondary School learning areas

Subjects for Senior Secondary School

Senior Secondary School (SSS) marks the end of Basic Education in Kenya and targets to lay the foundation for further education and training at the tertiary level and the world of work. Schools will be specialized institutions that will provide opportunities for learners to focus in a field of their choice as well as form a foundation for further education and training and gaining employable skills.

The specialization for learners entails choosing to pursue studies in one of the three pathways available in senior school:

  • Arts and Sports Science
  • Social Sciences
  • Science Technical Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) pathway.
Tracks Learning Areas
Core (compulsory for all  learners)Community Service Learning Physical Education
Arts and Sports Science Pathway
1.Sports Science1.Sports Science
2. Performing Arts1. Music and Dance 2. Theatre and Elocution
3.Visual ArtsVisual and Applied Arts
Social Science Pathway
1.LanguagesCommunication Skills, English Language, Literature in English,  Lugha ya Kiswahili, Fasihi ya Kiswahili, Indigenous Languages,  Arabic, French, German, Mandarin
2. HumanitiesHistory and Citizenship, Geography, Christian Religious Education, Islamic Religious Education, Hindu  Religious Education
3. Business StudiesBusiness Studies
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Pathway
Pure SciencesMathematics, Advanced Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology,  Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences
Applied SciencesAgriculture, Computer Science, Health, Foods and Nutrition, Home  Management, Clothing and Textile
Technical and EngineeringAviation and Aerospace Technology Wood Technology Electrical Technology Metal Technology Power Mechanics Technology Construction Technology Media Technology Mechatronics Technology
Careers and Technology  StudiesFashion and apparel design Soft Furnishing and upholstery  Culinary Arts (Food and Beverage) Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy Metalwork Building Construction Welding and Fabrication Photography and Video Production Motor Mechanics Electrical Installation and Electronics Crop Production and Management Livestock and Wildlife Management Graphic Design and Animation
Table 1: Senior Secondary School learning areas (subjects)

Therefore, Competency based Curriculum focuses on what learners have learnt as opposed to what teachers think they have taught. Learning is measured according to how well the learner performs in relation to acquisition of competencies and Core values. CBC emphasizes on appropriate application of knowledge, and not necessarily just its acquisition. It is therefore expected that teachers will ensure learners in Junior Secondary School are taken through meaningful learning experiences that enable them to interact with real life experiences in the 3 career pathways for deeper learning and meaning making, which will promote both personal growth and societal advancement.