The government will give Sh15,000 per learner as capitation to facilitate free learning for Junior Secondary in public schools.
At the same time, the government recommends that Junior Secondary learners will have a distinct school uniform to distinguish them from the rest of the learners in the lower tier in shared primary schools.
Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ezekiel Machogu cautioned heads of schools from charging any levy to students in Junior Secondary warning that such cases will be met with harsh disciplinary measures.
‘‘ President William Ruto has directed that the National Treasury set aside Sh15,000 per learner as capitation to facilitate free learning in all public schools. In total, the Government will spend Sh9.6 Billion for the learners in Junior 6 Secondary Schools this calendar year,’’ Machogu said.
‘‘It, therefore, means that no school should charge any fees for Grade 7 learners unless such schools have boarding wings. Prohibition of public schools from charging any admission fee for any Grade Seven learner due to the 100 per cent transition policy in the same school where the learners were enrolled in Grade Six.’’
Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development CEO, Charles Ong’ondo said learners in all public primary schools will have books in the 12 compulsories and two optional learning areas.
Ong’ondo said the textbooks will be available in schools before schools open.
‘‘The weight the government has carried for all the learning areas and the optional ones, the government supplies a book for every learner in every subject, starting January 30.
Ong’ondo says, even with the government buying the books, it will not restrict schools to mandatory books.
‘‘The other books will still be available to the learners to buy because the other books we have approved are okay,’’ he stated.
The announcement quelled weeks of anxiety and questions from parents on the cost of running the new transition, with the government clarifying that learners in public schools will not pay school fees, except for schools with boarding wings.
Parents and the board of management in respective schools will have to agree on the new uniforms.
‘‘Although learners will join Grade Seven in the schools where they were enrolled in Grade Six, there is a need to distinguish the Junior Secondary School section,’’ Machogu stated at the launch of form one selection.
The CS said the Ministry of Education had used the interim report of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms to suggest changes but would wait for the final report to inform further changes in the content of all levels of learning.
He identified the lack of laboratories and infrastructure as the biggest challenge to the new education system.
There are about 32,555 primary schools across the country, 24,000 of which are public primary schools.
While there are issues over the readiness of public primary schools, many private schools are said to be adequately prepared to host Junior Secondary.
‘‘As of January 13, a total of 14,589 public and private schools had been assessed. Of these, 13,221 schools had been approved to host the Junior Secondary Schools,’’ he stated.
The ongoing assessment considers, among other factors, whether the respective school has adequate land to host the junior secondary school level; the availability of buildings to be used as classrooms and laboratories; and whether the school has adequate water and power supply.
On teacher preparedness, the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) says it is recruiting 30,000 new teachers, the majority of whom will be for the Junior Secondary level.
Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia noted that all graduate primary school teachers will be deployed to Junior Secondary.
‘‘The Commission is recruiting 30,000 new teachers, the majority of whom will be attending to learners in the Junior Secondary School level. We are mapping all graduate teachers already in primary schools who will be required to teach in Junior Secondary,’’ Macharia said.