Learners transitioning to Grade Seven in January will be compelled to be day scholars under the competency-based curriculum (CBC), putting pressure on the survival of public boarding secondary schools.
The State department overseeing the implementation of CBC said on Monday that learners will be posted to junior high schools based on proximity to their former primary school, subject selection and performance in primary school.
This marks the clearest indication yet that the government will open boarding schools to day schoolers in order to host junior secondary.
“Posting of learners to junior high will be informed by the capability of parents to transport a child to the school they have chosen,” Ruth Mugambi, the technical adviser to the Principal Secretary on CBC matters, told journalists.
This means that learners will attend their local neighbouring schools instead of having to scramble for limited spaces at key schools.
Under CBC, elementary education is divided into pre-primary and primary education, taking two and six years respectively. Junior secondary starts from Grade Seven up to Grade Nine.
Learners in junior secondary will be expected to study core subjects and a maximum of two optional subjects that include Home Science, Computer Studies, Art, Foreign languages, Kenyan Sign Language and Indigenous Languages.
The government requires that secondary schools offer at least three of the optional subjects. It is this selection of optional subjects that will be used to determine which secondary school a child will be posted to.
The junior secondary will be domiciled in existing secondary schools as opposed to primary schools, and training of learners offered by secondary school teachers.
The government is targeting expanding CBC infrastructure by building 10,000 classrooms at a cost of Sh8 billion in readiness for the rollout of junior secondary in 2023.
Kenya has 116,024 high school teachers, with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) committing to having trained 60,000 by December.
Government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna said that the government had seriously considered every aspect of the CBC and expressed optimism that the education system will succeed.
The government started the rollout of the CBC in 2018, introducing disruptive changes where elementary education is divided into pre-primary and primary, taking two and six years respectively.
Junior secondary starts from Grade Seven up to Grade Nine.
President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the Implementation of Curriculum Reforms department in February last year to monitor the CBC rollout, track implementation and come up with mechanisms for prompt intervention.