Uncertainty Still Rocks Transition To Junior Secondary Schools
Matters revolving around the content, domiciling, infrastructure, funding and placement under CBC are still a concern yet to be addressed clearly.
His reaction targeted an earlier conflicting information by senior state officials, among them Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna, that junior high schools will only be offered in day schools and learners will only be admitted to boarding schools once they reach senior secondary. “All the existing boarding and day secondary schools will admit learners transiting from Grade 6 to Grade 7 under CBC based on guidelines to be provided by the Ministry,” said Magoha.
Under the new CBC, junior high schools comprise Grade 7, 8 and 9, after which learners will transit to senior high schools (Grade 10,11 and 12). University duration will also reduce from 4 to 3 years.
According to Magoha the ministry of education has identified 1,500 primary schools that will host junior secondary, saying the institutions have adequate learning and teaching facilities and land for physical expansion.
Notable gaps yet to be addressed include Congestion in public secondary schools, which has remained a concern in recent years.
1,250,649 learners in the pioneer CBC class are projected to transition to Grade 7 alongside 1,320,395 others who will be joining Form One under the 8-4-4, totalling 2,571,044 new learners. This will no doubt exert pressure on the already stretched facilities in secondary schools. The scheduled double intakes in 2023 and 2024 as the last two 8-4-4 classes exit primary school will push enrolment from 4,381,701 to 6,029,168 in the first year, and to 7,649,943 the following year. This will leave a shortfall of 1,489,144 places in secondary schools next year. It is this gap that the government has been trying to close with the construction of 10,000 classrooms. So far, over 6,000 have been completed.
The project was launched late last year and the Jubilee administration has only two-and-a-half months left to construct the rest.
“The anticipated enrolment increase will also require expansion of laboratories, libraries, wash facilities and related resources. Effective transition, therefore, calls for nationwide and local context-specific planning to ensure all learners are equitably placed,” the report reads.
Worryingly, none of the 47 counties has adequate spaces in secondary schools for the combined 2.5 million learners exiting Grade 6 and Standard 8 in November. Kakamega leads with the shortage of spaces at 93,703, followed by Bungoma (83,243) and Nairobi (83,062). Lamu has the least at 4,634, followed by Isiolo at 6,338 and Taita Taveta (6,897).
Aware of the problem at hand, the government has been encouraging private schools, especially those in urban areas, to set up stand-alone junior secondary sections to provide more spaces. A few of them are already establishing junior high wings. Enrolment in the 1,301 private secondary schools stands at 203,448 as per the latest official data.
Though the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) has come up with the competency-based assessment framework, the ministry has yet to guide on how results will be used for placement in various categories of schools. Learners will attain 60 per cent of their final grade from formative assessments at the end of Grade 4, 5 and 6. The final 40 will be from a summative assessment at the end of Grade 6—the first such to be administered in November by the name Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA), effectively replacing KCPE.
Another sticking point is that the 2022/23 Budget presented by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani increased the allocation for the free day secondary education programme from Sh62.2 million to Sh64.4 billion only, despite the huge increase of learners. At Sh22,224 annual capitation per learner, at least Sh27 billion ought to have been allocated. Some learners will, however, go to private schools, hence will need no government support.
Finally, secondary schools face a teacher shortage crisis that has persisted for years. Also of concern is that more teachers are exiting the service than the government can replace.