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Knec Kcse Computer Studies Syllabus



By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

-appreciate computers and their components;

develop basic skills in the safe use and care of computers and their devices; be acquainted with the fundamental concepts of computing; appreciate the use of computers in different areas of application;  appreciate the impact of computer technology on society; develop the skills to use application packages; - appreciate programming and acquire the knowledge to write and run programmes; identify different educational and occupational opportunities available computing field;


Specific Objectives

By the rend of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) state the different parts of a computer;
b) explain how computers have developed;
c) Classify the various types of computers;
(d) state the safety precautions and practices in a computer laboratory;
(e) Demonstrate basic hands-on-skills on the use of a computer.

123 Content

111 Definition of a computer
122. Parts of a computer
I 23 Development of computers
124 Classification of computers
• Physical Size Functionality


125 Areas where computers are used
126 Definition of a computer laboratory

127 Safety precautions and practices in a computer laboratory
• Behaviour
• Handling of materials and equipment
• Fire
• Cabling
• Stable power supply
• Burglar proofing
• Ventilation
• Lab layout
• Dust / damp control
• Lighting
• Standard furniture

1.2.8 Hands-on skills

• Start-up, restarting and shut-down (Booting)
• Keyboard layout
• Practical keyboard and mouse skills


2.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) describe a computer system;
b) explain the functional organization of the elements of a computer system;
c) describe input devices of a computer system;
d) describe the central processing unit (CPU);
e) describe the output devices of a computer system;
f) describe the types of secondary storage devices and media;
g) distinguish between power and interface cables;
h) explain basic computer set-up and cabling;
I) distinguish between system software and application software;
j) evaluate the criteria for selecting a computer system.

2.2.0 Content

2.2.1 Description of a computer system
2.2.2 Functional organization of the elements of a computer system
• Hardware
• Software
• Live-ware
2.2.3 Input devices e.g.
• Keying devices
• Pointing devices
• Scanning devices
• Speech recognition devices
• Other digital devices

2.2.4 Central Processing Unit (CPU)
• Control Unit
• Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU)
• Memory
• Processors
(i) types
(ii) clock speeds

22.5 Output Devices
• Soft copy output devices e.g.
I) Visual display unit — Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), flat panel, cathode ray
tube (CRT)
ii) Sound output
iii) Light emitting
• Hard copy output devices e.g.
I) printers (impact, non-impact)
ii) plotters

226 Secondary/Auxiliary Storage Devices and Media
• Fixed e.g. Hard disk
• Removable e.g.
I) floppy disks
ii) tape
iii) optical disks (CD-R, WORM, CD-RW, DVDs)
iv) zip disks

2.2.7 Power and Interface Cables
• Power cable
• Parallel cable
• Serial cable

2.2:8 Basic computer Set-up and Cabling
• Connecting basic computer components
• Connecting other computer peripherals

2.2.9 Classification of software
• Purpose
a) System software
i) firmware
ii) networking software
iii) operating system
iv) utilities
b) Application software
• Acquisition
(I) standard software (ii) user developed (in-house)

2.2.10 Criteria for selecting a computer system (specifications)

Hardware considerations
• Processor speed
• Memory capacity
• Warranty
• Upgradability
• User needs
• Cost
• Portability
• Other considerations

Software considerations
• Authenticity
• User needs
• User friendliness
• System requirements
• Cost
• Compatibility
• Portability
• Documentation
• Other software considerations


3.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) define an operating system;
b) state the functions of an operating system;
c) describe types of operating systems;
d) describe how operating systems organize information;
e) manage files using an operating system;
f) manage disks using an operating system;
g) identify internal and peripheral devices under Operating System control.

3.2.0 Content

3.2.1 Definition of an operating system
3.2.2 Functions of an operating system
• Job scheduling
• Resource control
• Input/output handling
• Memory management
• Error handling
• Interrupt handling

3.2.3 Types of Operating Systems

• Number of users
i) single user
ii) multi user
• Number of tasks
i) single tasking
ii) multi tasking
• Interface
1) command line
ii) menu driven interface
iii) Graphical user interface (GUI)

3.2.4 Organization of Information using an operating system
• Files
• Directories/folders
• Storage media

3.2.5 File management using an operating system

• Description of files
• Types of files
i) system files
ii) application files
• Functions of files
i) storage of data
ii) organization of information
• Creating files
• Manipulating files
i) viewing files and directories
ii) organization of information
iii) creating files/directories
iv) opening
v) editing
vi) renaming
vii) finding/searching
viii) sorting
ix) copying
x) moving
xi) deleting

32.6 Disk Management using an operating system
• Formatting
• Partitioning
• Defragmentation
• Disk diagnostics/Disk compression
• Backup

3.2.7 Devices under operating system control
• Processor
• Memory (Rain)
• Storage devices
• Input1output devices and ports
• Communication devices and ports

3.2.8 Installation and configuration of an operating system
• Trouble shooting


4.1.0 Word processors
4.2.0 Spreadsheet
4.3.0 Database
4.4.0 Desktop publishing
4.5.0 Internet and E-Mail


4.1.1 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) define a word processor;
b) state the purpose of word processing;
c) use a word processing package;
d) format and edit a document;
e) create and edit a table;
create and update a mail-merge document;
g) print a document;
h) insert and edit objects.

4.1.2 Content

4.1.21 definition of a word-processor
4.1.22 Purpose of word processing e.g
• Letter preparation
• Reports
• Newsletters

4.1.23 Using a Word processing package
• Getting started
• Screen layout
• Running the program
i) Creating a document
ii) Saving
iii) Retrieving
iv) Closing
v) Exiting

4.1.24 Editing and formatting a document
• Editing a document
• Block options
1) Selecting
ii) Moving
iii) Copying
iv) Deleting
v) Inserting and type over

• Find and replace
1) Search/find
ii) Replace

• Proof-reading
i) Spelling and grammar checking
ii) rhesaun.is
iii) Auto-correct
iv) Undo and redo

• Formatting a document
a) Text formatting
1) Bolding
ii) Italizing
iii) Underlining
iv) Fonts
v) Drop caps
vi) Change case
vii) Superscript/subscript
h) Paragraph formatting
i) alignment
ii) indenting
iii) spacing
iv) section breaks
v) bullets and numbering
c) Page formatting

• Layout
i) columns
ii) headers/footers
i) Margins
ii) Orientations
iii) Paper size
iv) Tabs 4125 Creating and Editing a Table

• Create a table
i) Rows
ii) Columns
• Enter data
• Editing tables
i) Resizing rows/columns
ii) Inserting rows/columns
iii) Deleting rows/columns
iv) Merging rows/columns
v) Splitting rows/columns

• Formatting tables
i) Borders
ii) shading

• Table conversions
i) Converting text to table
ii) Converting table to text
iii) Importing
• Arithmetic calculations
i) Perform calculation
ii) Insert formulae
• Sorting
4.1.26 Sorting creating and updating a mail merge document

• Creating main document
i) Form letters
ii) Labels
iii) envelopes
• create/import data source
i) editing
ii) saving
• Merging Fields

• Main and data source to
i) Printer or
ii) New window or
iii) Fax or
iv) E-mail
• Updating merged document

4.1.27 Printing a document
i) Printer setup
ii) Print preview
iii) Print option
- printer selection
- orientation
- page and copies
iv) Printing

4.1.28 Inserting Graphics

• Types of graphics
1) Drawing
ii) Pictures
iii) Charts
• Inserting
i) importing
ii) drawing
• Editing graphical objects
i) Updating
ii) Resizing
iii) Enhance


4.2.1 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) define a spreadsheet;
b) describe the components of a spreadsheet;
c) state the application areas of a spreadsheet;
d) create and edit a worksheet;
e) explain different cell data types;
f) apply cell referencing;
g) apply functions and formulae;
it) apply worksheet formatting;
1) apply data management skills;
j) apply charting and graphing skills;
k) print worksheet and graph.

4.2.2 Content

4.2.21 Definition of a Spreadsheet

42.22 Components of a spreadsheet
i) worksheet
ii) database
iii) graphs

4.223 Application areas of a spreadsheet
• Statistical analysis
• Accounting
Data management
• Forecasting (what if analysis)
• Scientific application

4.2.24 Creating a worksheet/workbook
• Getting started
• Worksheet layout
• Running the program
i) creating a worksheet
ii) editing a cell entity
iii) saving
iv) retrieving
v) closing a worksheet
vi) exiting from spreadsheet

4.2.25 Cell Data Types

• Labels
• Values
• Formulae
• Functions
4.2.26 Cell referencing
• Cell addressing
• Absolute referencing
• Relative referencing
4.2.27 Basic functions and formulae
• Functions
I) statistical (average, count, max, mm)
ii) logical (if, count-if sum-if)
iii) mathematical (sum, product, div)
• Arithmetic formulae (using operators brackets)
4.2.28 Worksheet form fling
• Numbers
• Rows and columns
• Global
4.2.29 Data management Sorting
• Filtering
• Total/subtotals function
• Forms
4.2.30 Charts/graphs
• Types
• Data ranges
• Labels
• Headings and titles Legends
4.2.3 1 Printing
i) page set-up
ii) print preview
iii) print options
• select printer
• selection
• worksheet/workbook
• orientation
• pages and copies
v) printing


4.3J Specific Objectives
By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) define a database;
b) explain the concepts of a database;
c) explain data organization in a database;
d) create a database;
e) edit a database;
f) design a form;
g) apply basic concepts of queries;
h) create report and labels;
i) print queries, forms and reports.

4.3.2 Content

4.3.21 Definition of Database
4.3.22 Database concepts
• Traditional filing methods (manual flat files)
• Functions of databases
• Types of database models
• Database software
• Features of a database (e.g. data structures, report generating, querry language, modules)
4.313 Data Organization
• Character types
• Fields
• Records
• Files
• Database
43.24 Creating a database
• Design a database structure
• Field properties and data types
• Key-fields and index
• Data entry
4.325 Editing a database
• Modify structure
• Updating database
4.3.26 Form design
• Form layout
• Data manipulation
• Formatting fields
4.3.27 Qrries
• Creating
• Updating
• Viewing
• Printing
4.328 Reports layout
• Creating (using relational and logical operator, local operators — AND OR, NOT)
• Modifying
• Sorting and grouping
• Labeling
• Printing


4.4.1 Specific Objectives
By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) define desktop publishing;
b) state the purpose of DTP;
c) identify types of DTP software;
d) design a publication;
e) edit a publication;
format a publication;
g) print a publication.
4.4.2 Content
4.4.21 Definition of Desktop publishing
4.4.22 Purposes of DTP
• Graphic design
• Page layout design
• Printing
4.4.23 Types of DTP software
• Graphical based
• Layout based
4.4.24 Designing a publication
• Types of publications e.g. newsletters, cards, brochures, posters etc
• Running the program
• Screen layout
• Setting up a publication
• Manipulating text and graphics
4.4.25 Editing a publication
• Editing tools
4.4.26 Formatting a Publication
• Text
• Graphics
4.4.27 Printing
• Page setup
• Print options


4.5.1 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) define internet;
b) explain the importance of internet;
c) describe internet connectivity;
d) identify internet services;
e) access internet;use e-mail facilities;
g) state the moral, social and spiritual issues that may emerge through access to the internet.

4.5.2 Content

4.5.21 Definition of internet
4.5.22 Development of internet
4.5.23 Importance of internet
4.5.24 Internet connectivity
• Telecommunication facilities

• Modems
• Internet services providers (ISP) Internet software

4.5.25 Internet services e.g.
• World Wide Web (www)
• Electronic mail (e-mail)
• Electronic Commerce (c-commerce)
• Electronic Learning (c-learning)

4.5.26 Accessing Internet
• Log-in/sign-in
• Surflbrowse
• Search engines and hyperlinks

4.5.27 Electronic Mail (e-mail)
• Definition
• E-mail software
• E-mail facilities
i) Mails (checking, composing, forwarding, sending, saving and printing)
ii) Fax
iii) File attachment
iv) On-line meetings
v) Telephone messages
vi) Contact management

NB: Emphasis is on the procedure and not necessarily on on-line connectivity

4.5.28 Use the intemet to access information on emerging issues eg.
• Dnig abuse
• Environmental issues
• Moral integrity


5.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) define the terms data security and privacy;
b) identify security threats on ICT and possible control measures;
c) identify types of computer crimes.

5.2.0 Content

5.2.1 Definition of data security and privacy

5.2.2 Security threats and control measures
• Threats e.g.
i) virus
ii) unauthored access
iii) computer errors and accidents iv) theft
• Control measures e.g.
i) anti-virus software
ii) password
iii) user access levels
iv) backups

5.2.3 Computer crimes e.g.
i) trespass
ii) hacking
iii) tapping
iv) cracking
v) piracy
vi) fraud
vii) sabotage
viii) alteration
• Detection and Protection e.g.
i) audit trail
ii) data encryption
iii) log files
iv) firewalls
5.2.4 Laws governing protection of information systems


6.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) explain concepts and reasons for data representation in a computer
b) define the terms bit, byte, nibble and word
c) explain types of data representation in the computer
d) perform binary arithmetic operations.

6.2.0 Content

6.2.1 Concepts and Reasons of data representation
6.2.2 Definition of terms: bit, byte, nibble and word
6.2.3 Types of data representation.
• Number Systems and their representation of integral values
i) decimal
ii) binary
iH) octal
iv) hexadecimal
• Symbolic representation
i) Binary Coded Decimal Code (BCD)
ii) Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC)
iii) American Standard Code for Information Interchange Code (ASCII)

6.2.4 Conversion between binary and decimal

6.2.4 Binary arithmetic operations

• Binary addition
• Binary subtraction
(i) ones complement
(ii) twos complement


7.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

a) define the terms data, information and data processing;
b) describe data processing cycle;
c) explain types of errors in data processing;
d) explain the various methods of data processing;
e) describe data integrity;
1) describe a computer file;
g) describe types of computer files;
h) describe file organization methods;
i) describe the various data processing modes.

7.2.0 Content

7.2.1 Definition of the terms data, information and data processing
7.2.2 Data processing cycle
• Data collection
1) stages of data collection
ii) methods of data collection
• Data input
• Processing
• Output
7.2.3 Description of errors in data processing e.g.
• Transcription errors
• Transposition
7.2.4 Data processing methods
• Manual/conventional
• Mechanical
• Electronic
7.2.5 Data Integrity
• Accuracy
• Timeless
• Relevance
7.2.6 Computer files
• Elements of computer file
• Logical and physical files
7.2.7 Types of computer processing files e.g.
• Master
• Transaction
• Report
• Sort
• Backup
• Reference
7.2.8 File organization methods
• Sequential
• Random/direct
• Indexed sequential
7.2.9 Electronic Data processing modes
• Real-time


8.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) define Programming;
b) describe the various levels of programming languages;
c) state the advantages and disadvantages of each level of language;
d) define the terms assembler, compiler, interpreter, source program program;
e) describe the stages of program development;
f) describe the program control structures;
g) define and develop algorithm, pseudo-code and flowchart.


Definition of Programming
Levels of programming languages
• Low level language
i) machine
ii) assembly
• High Level languages
i) third Generation Languages (3GLS)
ii) four Generation Languages (4 GLs)
iii) Object Oriented Programming (OOP5)
• Serial
Batch processing
Multi programming/multi-tasking
Interactive processing
iv) Internet (scripting) Programming Languages

8.3.3 Advantages and disadvantages of low and high level languages

8.4.4 Description of terms
i) assembler
ii) compiler
iii) interpreter
iv) source program
v) object program
8.4.5 program development
• problem recognition
• problem defmition
• program design
• program coding
• program testing
• implementation

8.4.6 Program Control Structure
• Sequence
• Selection
• Iteration (looping)

8.6.7 Definition and development of Algorithm
• Pseudo-code
• Flow chart


9.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) describe a system;
b) define an information system;
c) state the purpose of an information system;
d) identify the stages of system development;
e) develop a system using a case study;
f) write a report on the case study.

9.2.0 Content

9.2.1 Description of a system
9.2.2 Definition of an Information System
9.2.3 Purpose of an Information System
9.2.4 Stages of system development
• Problem recognition and definition
• Information gathering e.g
i) investigation
ii) observation
iii) interviews
iv) questionnaires
• Requirement specification for the new system
• System design
• System construction
• System implementation
• System review and maintenance
(*A number of theories exist on system development. The above is a general
guide to the stages)

9.2.5 System Documentation
• Reports on fact finding/information gathering
• System flowchart
• Table/file structure/descriptions
• Sample data
• Output reports
• User manual


10.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:

a) define computer networking TERMS;
b) state the purpose of computer networks;
c) describe the elements of a network;
d) describe various types of networks;
e) describe various types of network topologies.

10.2.0 Content

10.2.1 Definition of terms
i) computer networks
ii) data communication
10.2.2 Purpose and Limitations of networking
• Purpose
i) resource sharing
ii) remote communication
iii) distributed processing facilities
iv) const effectiveness
v) reliability
• Limitations

10.2.3 Elements of Networking
a) Data communication media
• Communication with cables
i) twisted pair cables
ii) coaxial cables
ii) fibre-optic cables
• Communication without cables (wireless) e.g.
1) Microwave ii) satellite
iii) radio transmission
b) Data Signal
• Analog
• Digital
c) Communication Devices e.g.
• Modems
• Network cards
• Hubs
d) Network software
• Operating systems
• Protocols

10.2.4 Types of Networks

• Local Area Network (LAN)
• Metropolitan area Network (MAN)
• Wide Area Network (WAN)

10.2.4 Types of Network topologies e.g.
• Ring
• Star
• Bus


11.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to

describe the use of computers in different application areas.

11.2.0 Content

11.2.1 Application Areas of information and Communication Technology

• Financial Systems
a) accounting
b) banking
c) payroll
• Retail Systems
i) point of sale systems ii) stock control
• Reservations Systems
i) hotels
ii) air-lines
• Communication Systems
i) fax and telex
vi) radio
vii) television
viii) video conferencing
ix) e-mail
x) telecommuting
xi) internet
• Education
i) Computer Aided Learning (CAL)
ii) e-learning
iii) computer based simulation
• Industrial systems
i) simulation
ii) process control
iii) CAD (Computer Aided Design)/CAM (Computer Aided
• Scientific and Research Systems
i) weather forecasting
ii) medical research
iii) military/space exploration
• Transportation Systems
i) air-traffic control
ii) shipping control
iii) automobile traffic control

• Entertainment Systems i) computers and movies ii) multi-media
• Virtual reality i) uses of virtual reality ii) visor
• Library Systems Library lending system
• Home use
• Health
• Expert systems
• Offices Expert systems
• Offices Expert systems
• Marketing i) e-commerce ii) business

11.2.2 Fieldwork Report


12.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to:
a) identify’ issues resulting from the use of ICT; b) discuss future trends in ICT.

12.2.0 Content

12.2.1 Issues resulting from use of ICT
a) Effects on employment
• job creation
• job replacement
• job displacement
b) Automated production
• pros & cons
c) Issues of workers health
d) Breakthroughs
• Health care
• Education
• Communication
• Research
• Commerce
• Arts
• Entertainment
• Transport
e) Cultural effects
• Computer crimes
• Moral effects

12.2.2 Evolution of computer systems

• Possible future trends in capabilities, physical size, price, software e
• Artificial intelligence
i) expert systems
ii) natural language processing
iii) artificial neural networks
iv) robotics


13.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the topic, the learner should be able to
describe career opportunities in ICT.

13.2.0 Content
13.2.1 Description of careers in the field of ICT e.g.
i) Computer Operators
ii) Programmers
iii) Software Engineers
iv) Database Administrators
v) System Administrators
vi) Computer Technicians
vii) Computer Engineers
viii) Information Systems Managers
ix) Computer Trainers
x) Web Administrators
xi) Systems Analysts

13.2.2 Identification of further Educational Opportunities

i) Colleges
ii) Institutions
iii) Polytechnics
iv) Universities
v) Research Institutions

14.0.0 PROJECT

14.1.0 Specific Objectives

By the end of the Project, the learner should be able to:
a) identify’ and define a problem;
b) carry out fact finding through either or all of these methods:
i) investigation
ii) observation
iii) interviews
iv) questionnaires;
c) define systems hardware and software requirement;
d) design a system;
e) construct a system that would:
i) input data through forms or screen
ii) update: modification, deletion of existing data
iii) carry out data validation
iv) search/filter/query/retrieve records
v) generate/print reports.
0 test the system;
g) prepare a project report
(documentation) that includes
I) reports on fact finding system flowchart/flow diagram
ii) system flowchart/flow diagram
iii) table/file structure descriptions
iv) sample input and test data
v) output reports
vi) user manual.


Schools intending to offer Computer Studies are expected to have the following minimum equipment: Computer Laboratory/classroom(s)

ii) Computer desks that accommodate monitor at eye level
iii) At least one computer per every four students (1:4) in Forms one and two
and one computer for every two students (1:2) for Forms three and four.
iv) At least one printer for every four computers
v) Printing Stationery
vi) Appropriate storage devices e.g. diskettes
vii) Storage facilities for diskettes and other consumables e.g. disk banks
viii) Appropriate software for the curriculum
ix) Relevant reference materials

Note: The computers to be used for the course should preferably be IBMs or IBM- compatibles due to their low maintenance costs and availability of spare parts. In addition to the above, the following facilities though not mandatory will  greatly assist in achieving the objectives of the course.


ij The PCs should be Pentium II or higher
ii) The PCs should have a CD-ROM drive
iii) At least one of the PCs in the school should be full multimedia
iv) A network environment
v) Internet connection
vii) Printers with graphic capabilities (not necessarily in colour)


i) It is recommended though not necessary that the operating system be a  Graphical User Interface (GUI)
ii) Software for the application packages may also be GUI — based which supports pointing devices
iii) Up to date anti-virus software are highly recommended


101 Knec English Syllabus
102 Knec Kiswahili Syllabus
121 Knec Mathematics Syllabus
231 Knec Biology Syllabus
232 Knec Physics Syllabus 
233 Knec Chemistry Syllabus
311 Knec History & Govt.Syllabus
312 Knec Geography Syllabus
313 Knec C.R.E. Syllabus
314 Knec I.R.E. Syllabus
441 Knec Home Science Syllabus
441 Knec Woodwork Syllabus
442 Knec Art and Design Syllabus
443 Knec Agriculture Syllabus
448 Knec Electricity Syllabus
451 Knec Computer Studies Syllabus
501 Knec French Syllabus
502 Knec German Syllabus 
511 Knec Music Syllabus
565 Knec Business Studies Syllabus


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