Report warns of crisis as counties enrolment doubles

School buses from upcountry drop students at Uhuru Park on March 17, 2021 [David Gichuru, Standard]

At least 12 counties are expected to carry the heaviest burden in the race to create additional space ahead of the 2023 transition from primary to secondary school.

Some secondary schools in Kakamega, Bungoma, Nairobi, Nakuru, Homa Bay, Narok, Kisumu, Busia, Meru, Kitui, Siaya, and Trans Nzoia will need about double the current space to accommodate the expected surge of learners transitioning under the new education system. 

An analysis of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) report on the capacities shows schools must work extra hard to avoid a crisis.

In Kakamega, at least 93,703 extra slots must be created. The county has the highest projected enrolment with 146,403 students expected to join secondary school. Yet the county has only 1,054 classrooms that can accommodate 52,700.

Bungoma has the second highest classroom demand with additional seats expected for 83,243 children. The county is expected to enrol 127,743 learners in 2023. However, it has 890 classrooms that can absorb just 44,500 students.

In Nairobi, an additional 83,063 places are needed. The county has an expected enrolment of 116,962 children yet it has 678 classrooms with the capacity of 33,900 learners.

Nakuru is also expected to receive a high enrolment of 114,964. It presently has 1,095 classrooms that can accommodate 54,750 learners and must create 60,214 slots.

Homa Bay completes the top five counties list with its secondary schools expected to receive 88,827 children against 677 classrooms with a capacity of 33,850.  

Other counties that will have high enrolment are Narok, which will need to create 54,663 new spaces, while Kisumu, Busia and Meru schools will require 50,717, 45,435 and 44, 513 extra slots respectively.

Kitui needs 43,861 more spaces, Siaya (41,723), Trans Nzoia (41,599), Kisii (39, 662), Kiambu (38, 912), Kwale (37, 945), Kajiado (35, 202), West Pokot (34, 227), Uasin Gishu (33,331), Turkana (32,557) and Machakos (32,305).

The report identifies 2023 and 2024 as critical years that will require proper planning as the number of students joining secondary schools will overstretch existing infrastructure.

“The pressure will only ease off in 2025 when there will be no 8-4-4 cohort transitioning from primary to secondary schools," the report states.

And the enrolment numbers, the report says, could be higher given the government has always enforced non-repetition policy, disbursed capitation money to every child thus encouraging many to attend school and pushed for the 100 per cent transition.

In addition to classrooms, the anticipated high numbers will also require more laboratories, libraries, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, besides other educational-related resources.

“Effective transition, therefore, calls for nationwide and local-context specific planning to ensure that all learners are equitably placed. Of note, the infrastructure investments to address the 2023 and2024 double intake challenge will help build capacities for accommodating learners in Senior secondary schools,” reads the report.

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