National schools to be scrapped in new reforms in education sector

The team has proposed that schools be grouped based on career pathways of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Social Science and Arts and Sports.

The details are contained in a draft report by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER).

If the proposals are adopted, the Ministry of Education will be required in the next six months to undertake audit to establish the number and distribution of public secondary schools across the country.

The ministry will also be required within six months, to generate a criteria for classifying schools in terms of career pathways while ensuring all regions have all the options.

This means that no region in the country will be disadvantaged in terms of availability of schools offering the three pathways.

And within one year, the ministry will be required to enhance guidelines on the establishment of low cost boarding primary schools.

Marginalised areas

The draft report also proposes that the government promotes establishment of low-cost boarding primary schools in marginalised areas and also improve infrastructure in Sub County schools that offer the three pathways.

The Standard established that the recommendations are still being refined before the report is handed to president.

The Basic Education Act (2013) categorises schools as public or private. Ownership, status or accommodation (day, boarding or mixed day and boarding), gender type, and special needs status are other parameters used to classify schools.

However, the Basic Education Curium Framework (BECF) provides for the three pathways at Senior School. According to Vision 2030 and in line with the BECF, it is projected that nearly 60 per cent of Senior School learners will be placed in STEM.

Some 25 per cent will be placed in Social Sciences while 15 per cent will be enrolled in Arts and Sports pathways. The task force members heard that these three pathways necessitate a need for new categorization of the senior schools.

The team argued that this new clustering will enhance equity, and inclusion. Sources in the task force told The Standard that during stakeholders' engagement, concerns were raised about the present categorization of schools.

It emerged that Kenyans complained that the present clusters promote exclusion and unfair resources allocation.

Kenyans also decried the inequalities between national schools, Extra County schools, County and Sub County schools.

It also emerged that the present categorization disadvantaged the day schools which have low students enrollments.

Based on this, reforms team heard that most sub-county schools lack adequate infrastructure and facilities to support effective learning.

The sub-county schools are the day schools in cities and major urban centres. Their catchment is the host County.

The government is presently implementing a new directive that requires all children in the Sub-County (secondary day) schools to enrolled in the nearby high schools where they can easily commute daily.

The draft report says that while national, extra county and county schools admit learners with higher examination marks, they are also better funded, have improved infrastructure and also have better learning resources.

National Schools are largely centres of education excellence established for purposes of stimulating education standards and fostering national unity and social cohesion in the country.

They are boarding schools whose catchment is 100 per cent national. Under this category, the ministry employs quota system which picks top performers per county.

In some cases, it can be top two boys and top two girls, depending on the quota. Merit also applies where all candidates with 400 marks and above are guaranteed slots in national schools.