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‘New’ Set Texts for 2017 (Update)


The Ministry of Education and KICD may be set to introduce a list of ‘new’ set texts for 2017. The list contains both current titles and some new ones in both English and Kiswahili. Some texts such as The River and the Source, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Betrayal in the City and Kidagaa Kimemwozea have been retained.

In English, Form 3 students in 2017 will study Margaret Ogola’s The River and the Source together with Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle. The two set texts were introduced in 2013 as compulsory set texts, and were first examined in the 2014 KCSE examinations.

The extension of the lifespans of these two texts beyond the normal four-year cycle means that KICD and the Ministry of Education have broken tradition that limited a compulsory set text to only four years. This, also, means that the 2018 KCSE candidates will be examined using these texts.

Sources at KICD told myliteraturelesson.com that there was a stalemate on whether to replace the current compulsory novel with A Grain of Wheat by Nguni was Thing’s or In Search of Gold by Joseph Kubanda. There was also debate on whether to replace the current compulsory play with Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector.

It is not clear why KICD and the Ministry of Education chose to extend the lifespans of the current compulsory set texts but competing interests and squabbling seem to have affected the process. It should also be noted that the Kenyan government has, in the recent past, discarded the ‘wholesale’ change of set texts in a bid to make secondary education affordable.

However, some changes are expected to be been made on the optional set books. This will see the exit of Witi Ihimaera’s The Whale Rider and the short story anthology, When the Sun Goes Down and Other Stories from Africa and Beyond. The new books are set to be: The Pearl by John Steinbeck (novel) and The Ten Shillings and Other Stories (anthology of short stories) by Moran (E.A) Publishers.

Meanwhile, the Kiswahili set books for 2017 are also expected to be released. The novel, Kidagaa Kimemwozea will get an extended lifespan while there will be new titles in drama and the short stories. Said A. Mohammed’s Mashetani Wamerudi is likely to be the new play whereas, Maskini Milionea na Hadithi Nyingine by OUP (Ed. By Ken Walibora) is set to replace the current anthology of short stories – Damu Nyeusi na Hadithi Nyingine.

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The Ministry of Education has, however, not confirmed whether these changes will indeed take place in the coming year. In a letter dated 7th November, 2016, the KICD Director confirmed that an audit on the evaluation exercise was ongoing.

What do you think about the new titles? Did KICD do a good job in selecting these new set texts? Let me hear your views in the comments.

UPDATE

After weeks of lobbying, by publishers, the KICD finally settled on the list of new set books for 2017. This came amidst confusion and accusations of corruption from a disgruntled group of publishers who felt short-changed in the whole selection process.

The selection panel, finally, settled on retaining The River and the Source and The Caucasian Chalk Circle as compulsory set texts in English. Betrayal in the City has also been retained as an optional text (drama) while there were surprising changes to the other optional texts.

Memories We Lost and Other Stories (Moran E.A. Publishers) was preferred over The Ten Shillings and Other Stories by the same publisher. This anthology replaces the current title, When the Sun Goes Down and Other Stories from Africa and Beyond. Witi Ihimaera’s The Whale Rider has been replaced by John Steinbeck’s The Pearl.

In Kiswahili there was a dramatic departure whereby the much talked about play – Mashetani Wamerudi – was tossed aside in favour of Pauline Kyovi’s Kigogo. Maskini Milionea na Hadithi Nyingine by OUP (Ed. By Ken Walibora) was also shunned in in preference for Tumbo Lisiloshiba na Hadithi Nyingine by Ken Walibora and Said A. Mohamed (Longhorn Publishers). The Kiswahili compulsory set text for 2017 still remains Kidagaa Kimemwozea by Ken Walibora.

The full list of new set book titles and their duration is shown below:

COMPULSORY ENGLISH SET TEXTS

No.

Title

Publisher Duration Status
1. The River and the Source (1994 Edition) by Margaret Ogola Focus Publishers 2013-2017 Current novel
2. The Caucasian Chalk Circle (2007 Edition) by Bertolt Brecht Penguin (Spotlight Publishers (E.A) Limited.) 2013-2017 Current novel

OPTIONAL ENGLISH SET TEXTS

No.

Title

Publisher Duration Status
1. Betrayal in the City (2010 Edition) by Francis Imbuga East African Educational Publishers 2013-2017 Current optional play
2. Memories We Lost and Other Stories (Approved by KICD 2016 Edition) Moran E.A. Publishers 2017-2021 New anthology of short stories
3. The Pearl (Approved by KICD 2016 Edition) by John Steinbeck Bookmark Africa 2017-2021 New optional novel

COMPULSORY SWAHILI SET TEXTS

No.

Title

Publisher Duration Status
1. Kidagaa Kimemwozea (2012 Edition) by Ken Walibora Spotlight Publishers (E.A) Limited. 2013-2017 Current novel (Riwaya)
2. Kigogo by Pauline Kyovi (Kimeidhinishwa na KICD Toleo la 2016) Storymoja Publishers 2017-2021 New play (Tamthilia)
3. Tumbo Lisiloshiba na Hadithi Nyingine by Ken Walibora and Said A. Mohamed (Kimeidhinishwa na KICD Toleo la 2016) Longhorn Publishers 2017-2021 New anthology of short stories (Hadithi Fupi)

John Nyakoyo

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