Calls to extend the school calendar continued to intensify on Tuesday as parents also pushed for the extension to allow adequate time for learning and preparations for national examinations later in the year.
National Parents Association chairperson Nicholas Maiyo said the extension should compensate for the number of days lost during the electioneering period to enable parents, teachers and learners to prepare adequately.
“The consequences of children staying at home longer is that their performance in exams is poor. We are asking for an equal number of days to those interfered with by the electoral period,” said Maiyo.
Secondary school teachers have also asked Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha to readjust the school calendar and also change the examination dates.
On his part, the chairperson of Kenya Secondary Schools Headteachers Association (KESSHA) Kahi Indimuli called for increasing of the learning time arguing that the two weeks’ closure has disrupted the school calendar.
And consequently, Indimuli argues that the disruption also affects national examinations.
“We expect to have national examinations in December and we are in the period of preparing the candidates for the national exams and the closure affects the final preparation for the candidates,” said Indimuli.
In his recent communication, Magoha postponed school reopening to August 18, to allow the tallying process. However, elections in some areas are st to be held on August 23.
Schools countrywide closed for the half-term on August 2 as the country prepared to go to the polls held on August 9. They were supposed to reopen on Monday but this was pushed forward to tomorrow as the counting and tallying of votes dragged on. The announcement of presidential election results was concluded on Monday.
However, stakeholders say failure to adjust the calendar will see the candidates undertake a compressed learning period before sitting for the national examinations.
The 2022 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams candidates are set to sit for the exams starting November 28 to December 1 and December 1 and December 23 respectively.
The pioneer CBC learners are also set to sit for the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) from November 28.
Initially, schools were on break for a one-week half-term holiday on August 6 and resume on August 13.This year’s third term is scheduled to start on September 26 to November 25.
“Many schools have started on revision and that is the most important period in preparing the candidates,” Indimuli added.
At the same time, the disruption in the school calendar is likely to affect the transition fro the 8-4-4 curriculum to the new Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC) where the first CBC cohort will be joining grade 7 In January 2023.
“If we delay further, maybe the minister may be forced to call a stakeholder meeting to discuss further whether we will be ready to sit for the exams in December. We may not be able to get the students ready for exams transition may also end up being delayed,” said Indimuli.
Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) Secretary-General Akello Misori also called for a comprehensive revision of the school calendar to allow students enough time before the exams as well as easing parents’ economic pressure.
“This will ensure that when students go back, they will not be compelled to have compressed study time so they can meet the deadline for this year’s exams.
“We should be told that the examination dates have been rescheduled so we do not pump a lot of information on the learners and make them sacrifice a lot of their time,” said Misori.
The demands by the officials come at a time when schools are trying to catch up with the lost time after the Covid closures.
“We had taken a very bold move to open schools at the height of the pandemic and we have had two sets of students graduate from primary to secondary and another to higher levels. Any other closure that will come after this will make us lose the gains that we have been having,” said the KESSHA chair.
Misori said students sacrificed time for sports and other co-curricular activities to accommodate the lost learning time when schools resumed after the prolonged school closure
“The minister’s way of doing things has caused a lot of anxiety and disruption because no parent will be planning, no teachers will be planning. We expect the minister to make further considerations and to involve the teachers in the unions,” said Misori.