Invest in junior secondary, private schools urged

State Department for Early Learning and Basic Education Deputy Director Martin Kungania (left) with Kenya Private Schools Association Chairman Charles Ochome at Moi Educational Centre in Nairobi on Friday. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The government has appealed to private school owners to invest more in infrastructure in preparation for the transition of Grade Six learners to junior secondary school.

Speaking during a session with private school directors at the Moi Education Centre in Nairobi, Education Principal Quality Assurance and Standards Susan Onyango said the high number of the pioneer class of students to be enrolled in the junior secondary in January next year will only be achievable if private schools did their part in ensuring they are ready for the transition.

‘‘We can't escape as private investors. In 2023, 2.5 million learners will be transiting from Grade Six to Junior Secondary. Over 1.3 million learners will be going to Form One under the 8.4.4 system while 1.2 million will be enrolling in Grade Seven which is Junior Secondary.

Government institutions don't have the capacity to accommodate all those learners, and this is why we need the private schools to also be ready to,’’ said Onyango.

Onyango noted that only 54 private schools from Nairobi county have applied to implement the junior secondary school plan in their institutions saying the figures are below expectation. She said the first two years will be critical to the implementation of the system.

‘‘Next year and 2024 will be critical to us in the implementation of the transition due to the influx of learners in our institutions. The pressure will ease in 2025.

She acknowledged the role played by private schools in complementing the government mandate to provide basic education to all saying in Nairobi alone, private schools contribute to 65 per cent of students' enrolment every year.

‘‘In Nairobi County, we have 250 private schools against 205 public schools. Private schools are great partners of the government in the implementation of basic education,’’ she added.

While taking participants through the session, Onyango said, under the new 2–6–3–3–3 education system, learners will spend a total of 17 years in school - two in pre-primary, six in primary school, three in junior secondary, three in senior secondary school and another three in university.

Junior secondary education will start in Grade 7 and end at Grade 9 and learners will be required to take 12 core subjects.