The much-awaited Junior Secondary School (JSS) transition has taken shape with the Ministry of Education making its recommendations over the same. This is amid confusion among stakeholders and parents over the efficiency and level of preparedness in schools.
The Competency Based Curriculum has its pros and cons which stakeholders appreciate, and the government is not backing down on its agenda to transform education and is working towards its implementation.
A section of parents and stakeholders had urged the government to allow grade seven pupils to be domiciled in their former primary schools citing various concerns such as bullying. The government heeded to their cry and allowed JSS to be domiciled in primary schools..
Preparedness for the transition
The level of preparedness for the transition has been questioned by a section of stakeholders. This is because all stakeholders must have been involved in the planning and implementation processes for smooth transition.
In an interview on Tuesday, Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) Secretary-General Constantine Wesonga questioned the preparedness for the transition to Grade 7 under the CBC curriculum.
“I am an educationist and I don’t understand this CBC yet I studied up to PhD level,” Dr. Wesonga said.
Further, he said there were a few days remaining until school reopening, yet teachers, parents and learners remained confused about joining junior secondary school.
“What was wrong with 8-4-4. If CBC is not ready, why can’t we continue with it because we understand it. We have a system in place if we are not ready for CBC,” Dr. Wesonga added.
Kericho Governor Eric Mutai admitted that there were serious challenges facing the rollout of Junior Secondary Schools.
In an interview on a local TV station, he said that the challenge facing the transition is domiciling JSS in primary schools due to limited infrastructure.
“The transition of CBC was not properly structured… the best thing to do, because we could not throw the baby plus the bath water, was to domicile JSS within the primary school structures,” Mr. Mutai said.
He acknowledged that the government was making a tough decision of making the CBC and JSS a reality.
“Fact on the ground is that the government is facing a tough situation in making JSS a reality in primary schools.
“As we talk now, we need laboratories within the JSSs. The primary schools don’t even have sufficient classrooms; we don’t have the right infrastructure in those institutions,” the governor said.
He sought for intervention on the matter for smooth transition.
“We need to see how we can pair up a local day secondary school and a local primary school adjacent to each other so that they can share existing facilities in the secondary school. It is a painful reality that we must juggle around for the sake of our children,” the governor added.
School fees for JSS
The Ministry of Education directed headteachers not to charge Grade 7 learners in public schools any fees.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu stated that the government had released KShs 9.6 billion for junior secondary.
“We worked on a figure which is closer to that of senior secondary school and the President accepted,” the CS said.
Further, he added that the government would send KShs 15,000 as capitation for every Grade 7 learner this academic year.
Mr. Machogu directed that parents should only pay for uniforms which will be changed in Junior Secondary Schools.
“The amount the government has been given is KShs 22,244 for secondary and KShs 1,420 for primary school,” he said.
The Grade 7 learners are expected to report to school on January 30, 2023.