Upper Primary (CBC) Subjects/Learning Areas Definitive Guide

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  • Date Modified02-09-2021
  • Date Published2021-09-02

The Upper Primary is collective term that contains 3 grades part of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), a new education system that is gradually peeling off 8-4-4 Kenya's old education system. The academic year 2021 comes with a transformative class of STD 6 to Grade 6. This now completes the upper primary set making it:

  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
  • Grade 6


The upper primary belongs to a larger set known as Middle School which consist of:

  • Upper Primary (Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6)
  • Lower Secondary (Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9)

The upper primary completes the 2-6 of the 2-6-3-3-3 CBC education cycle. This category, comes after the Lower Primary (Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3). 


Upper Primary Learning Areas
In the lower primary, learning areas(replaced subjects) majorly consisted of activities in most strands(replaced topics) eg. a learning areas called Mathematics Activities would use physical objects such as bottle caps to help the learner in counting. The CBC considers the upper primary students weaned as class promotion is considered after attaining a required Expectation Level. Therefore no longer needs to continue learning with most learning aids, as such little activity is found in strands.

More so, these students take on new learning areas not found in Lower Primary. Learning areas studied are:

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Kiswahili
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Studies
  • Home Science
  • Art & Craft
  • Agriculture
  • Music
  • Physical and Health Education
  • Indigenous Languages
  • Christian Religious Education
  • Islamic Religious Education
  • Hindu Religious Education


As in the lower primary, learners can only study one of the Religious Education offered by the school. Note that this may not be an option for some schools where the school itself imposes the study of only one Religious Education. In which case, the learner simple learns what the school offers. This total to nine(12) Learning Areas, a learner must study.

Indigenous Languages
In this learning areas, CBC has various languages:

  • French
  • German
  • Arabic
  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • Kenyan Vernacular 

A student can only select one language from the indigenous set, this also depends on what language the school offers. The Kenyan Vernacular consist of a variety of Kenyan tribes such as Luo, Luhya, Kikuyu etc. Keep in mind, this learning area is still work in progress in the CBC therefore some languages above may be added or removed.

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