A teacher's union claims the transition to Junior Secondary Schools has failed learners and called for its disbandment.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers wants a crisis meeting of stakeholders convened to deliberate the future of JSS and a re-think of its placement.
The meeting, the union said, should bring together teachers, parents' unions, MPs, ministry of education officials and professionals to address the emerging transition issue that the union says is "wasting learners".
In its verdict, the union cites the lack of teachers to manage Grade Seven, inadequate books for learners, additional levies charged by schools and confusion that has marred the transition.
Kuppet said no learning is taking place in Grade 7 and now urges the education reforms team to consider domiciling the new level of learning in secondary schools.
Crisis in school
Secretary General Akelo Misori said the crisis in schools has been brought about by a lack of enough teachers, limited learning materials, low capitation funds, unclear teacher management, and low support staff in the schools.
"One and a half months into the transition of the pioneer cohort of the Competency-Based Curriculum, there is no learning taking place in our Junior Secondary Schools," he said.
Misori said the teachers posted by the TSC to schools are not adequate to handle all 14 learning areas.
Kuppet called for the disbandment of the Presidential Working Party on Education reforms. "Notwithstanding their eminence in society, the PWP has contributed more confusion than a solution in the transition," Misori said.
The union chief said the minimum number of teachers required to teach Grade Seven learners was six and accused the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) of posting few teachers in schools, making it impossible for learning to take place.
"How do you expect learning to go on in a school where the TSC has sent one teacher to teach 14 subjects? Some of these teachers have specialised to teach two learning areas only," Misori said.
Last week, the Parliamentary select committee on Education chairman Julius Melly asked the TSC to provide the roadmap of teaching services to learners in the delivery of curriculum in schools.
Melly said learning in some Grade Seven classes is at a standstill due to teacher shortages.
He said this denies learners equity and inclusivity in the management of the teacher resource.
"In some schools, there is not even a single JSS teacher, and in some cases, the ministry has only posted one. It is the reason we are calling on the TSC to move fast to address the shortages," Melly said.
The majority of school heads complain of myriads of challenges they face in ensuring learners are attended to in classes.
Misori was with Kuppet national chairman Omboko Milemba who is also Emuhaya MP.
Milemba said the confusion has been precipitated by reports that the Ministry, Presidential Working Party and the TSC are pulling in different directions as learners bear the burden.
"It's time to take the bull by its horns instead of sitting and burying our heads in the sand when the bodies that are supposed to give direction in education are failing us," he said.
Milemba added that the time has come for the stakeholders to decide the destiny of education.
"We have to decide if the teachers in secondary schools can be taken back to Junior Secondary to teach. The curriculum of learning in JSS is secondary and not primary," he said.
Milemba said it was easier to construct more classes in secondary schools than put up laboratories.
"It is common sense that building more classrooms in secondary schools which already have laboratories would be easier and more cost-effective than trying to create new labs in primary schools,'' he added.
Overall, Kuppet wants the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms formed by President William Ruto to review laws governing basic education.
The union wants the team to recommend a review of the legislation with a view to addressing duplication, ambiguities, efficiency, constraints and improving linkages.
"But now, the reforms team has caused more confusion in the sector than providing a solution," said Misori.
The verdict by the union comes amidst rising concerns over the transition from the 8-4-4 to 2-6-6-3 education system where some 1.2 million learners moved to Grade Seven.
Since schools opened, teachers have complained of many teething problems that they said have frustrated the transition plan.
At Kariobangi South School Primary and Secondary, head teacher Pamela Mang'oli said she expected to have four intern teachers from the employer but only three were posted to the school.
Mang'oli said the school is still staggering on how learners will be trained in integrated science without laboratories.
"The teachers have started with areas that don't need the labs as we wait for further directives. They said we are going to use the neighbouring school labs. That may not be practical because of the number of learners/classes,'' she added.
At Bidii Primary school, only four teachers out of the required six, as well as at Joseph Kang'ethe Primary school where only three intern teachers were posted.
The majority of teachers in the two schools have a combination of social studies and Christian Religious Education leaving a wide gap in core subjects like English, Mathematics, Kiswahili, Pre-technical studies and Integrated Science.