Guidelines for admitting learners to junior secondary ready

The guidelines that will be used by schools to admit learners to junior secondary school (JSS) are ready but parents and teachers will have to wait a little longer before they are published.

The rules have been developed to give direction on the transition and implementation of the competency based curriculum (CBC) in JSS, the Principal Secretary for Curriculum Implementation Fatuma Chege said.

Prof Chege revealed that, once “administrative processes” have been dispensed with, the documents will be published and the public will get an insight into how the transition will be done.

There will be a double-intake in January when the pioneer CBC class and candidates currently in Standard Eight move to secondary school.

The learners under CBC will undertake the first Kenya Primary Education Assessment in November. It will be a summative assessment weighted at 40 per cent that will add to the formative assessments they did in Grade Four,Five and Six.

Speaking during the seventh edition of the Catholic Schools Principals Conference in Nairobi, Prof Chege said transition committees will be formed at the county, sub-county and school levels.

The members of the committees will further be trained using the tools and structures contained in the document.

“They will work to ensure that the transition is a corporate activity,” she said, adding that the committees will conceptualise and recommend integration to avoid creating demarcation between learners in CBC and 8-4-4.

Nairobi Catholic Archbishop Philip Anyolo opened the conference and delivered the keynote address.

Fr Ferdinand Lugonzo, the general secretary of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Rev Prof Stephen Mbugua, the Vice-Chancellor of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, also addressed the meeting.

Various stakeholders have raised concerns over the placement, infrastructure, content and staffing of JSS. The PS encouraged parents to enrol their children in JSS as day-scholars. She added that boarding secondary schools that wish to establish day sections will be allowed to do so.

Prof Chege said the committees will rationalise that capacity of teachers, adding that the Teachers Service Commission should consider “roving teachers” for learning areas with shortages.  Such teachers, she said, can teach in more than one school. 

The PS told the principals to familiarise themselves with the CBC curriculum designs and identify and publicise the optional subjects their schools will offer.

To fill the infrastructural gaps, the government is building 10,000 classrooms in secondary schools with 6,497 units completed in the first phase of the project.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has also reached out to private schools to establish JSS sections to complement government efforts.

Prof Magoha has also hinted that the ministry will place JSS learners in some private schools, while encouraging parents with children in private schools to retain them there for JSS.

Owners and directors of private schools yesterday assured the government of their support in executing the JSS, and that they have already started improving their infrastructure to accommodate the learners.

They spoke during the annual Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) conference in Mombasa, which brought together over 1,000 private school owners.

“We’re discussing and trying to find ways and solutions to overcome the challenges that have emerged from the CBC,” KPSA  Chairman Charles Ochome said, adding, Prof Magoha is expected to address the directors on the policy issues on CBC.

He said many private schools have set up and equipped labs and ICT centres as required by the Ministry of Education.

Some private school owners complained that they are grappling with financial challenges due to low enrolment of pupils as parents prefer to take their children to either public or international schools.

Regarding the training of teachers on CBC, the KPSA officials said they will collaborate with the TSC although some schools are already doing it.

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