Kenya’s competition watchdog has partnered with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to educate learners in secondary schools on consumer rights and market regulation.
The partnership between the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) and KICD targets 1.2 million pupils transitioning to Grade seven, or Junior Secondary school, and will see learners get taught how to protect themselves from unfair practices in the marketplace and the regulations that guide different sectors in the country.
Beginning January 2023, learners in junior and senior secondary schools will be taught about the two disciplines in subjects such as Home Science and Business Studies, with an aim of scaling up to at least 20 subjects in Grades 8 and 9 by 2024 and 2025 respectively.
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Thereafter in 2026, the over 30 subjects will be rolled out to Senior Secondary–Grades 10, 11 and 12.
The two state corporations said in a statement that the skills have been incorporated into the students’ course material through formal and non-formal learning activities.
CAK Director-General Wang’ombe Kairuki said that the partnership is aimed at preparing and imparting young citizens with the capacity to make informed consumer choices in adulthood.
“Especially when [they are ] faced with different products and services due to increased competition and market complexities,” said Mr Wang’ombe Kariuki, the Authority’s Director-General.
He added: “This is informed by emerging realities, especially in digital financial services.”
As Kenya’s economy has gone digital, numerous online lending platforms have emerged, some of which have been accused of exploiting consumers by charging them punitive interest rates.
Through classwork activities, students will learn about the responsibilities of businesses toward consumers, reflect on their roles as producers and consumers of goods and services, and their contribution to socio-economic goals.
The learning activities meant to enhance the concepts taught in the classroom will entail students identifying consumer issues within their community, and discussing possible remedies through, among others, practical assignments, poems, drama, music and dance.
KICD Director Professor Charles Ong’ondo noted that in the past consumer literacy matters have been narrowly addressed in Business Studies, adding that their targeted inclusion in the Curriculum, under the KICD-CAK collaboration, will broaden the perspective of consumer awareness and appreciation of the importance of competition in markets among young learners.
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“Consumer-related issues affect us all irrespective of age. By mainstreaming them in the curriculum, we shall equip our young citizens with the requisite knowledge, skills and values to safeguard them from exploitation by unscrupulous business persons and organisations,” said Prof. Ong’ondo.
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