Iron out the wrinkles in junior secondary rollout

Junior Secondary School pupils at a class in Kisumu County after reporting to school on January 30, 2023. [Michael Mute, Standard]

The second phase of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) came into effect on Monday when learners joined Junior Secondary School (JSS).

It has been a long journey fraught with challenges, and even now, most of those challenges remain unresolved. 

The Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER) appointed by President William Ruto on September 30, 2022, through Gazette Notice 11920 gave a provisional report in November 2022.

In part, the report recommended that Grade 7 and 8 be domiciled in primary school instead of secondary schools as earlier envisaged. PWPER recommended that the government should employ an additional 30,000 teachers by January 2023 and construct an extra classroom and laboratory in every primary school to cater for JSS.

By all indications, the government is yet to meet these requirements. The Kenya National Union of Teachers has raised the flag on a teacher deficiency to successfully handle JSS. Majority of public schools have serious infrastructural challenges that can only be compounded by JSS.

Ironically, not all primary schools have been authorised to host JSS, hence learners in these schools have been accommodated in other schools within a 2km radius from their previous schools. This poses serious logistical challenges to parents and learners.

Parents and teachers have decried the lack of textbooks for JSS. While private schools have a different school uniform for JSS learners, public schools appear not to have that luxury.

All these point to the haphazard manner in which CBC is being implemented. Moreover, the government is yet to disburse capitation of Sh15,000 per student under the JSS programme.

There is need to streamline operations to achieve uniformity across the board. CBC has the potential to positively impact our education sector if properly implemented.

This calls for cooperation between the Teachers Service Commission, the Ministry of Education and all education stakeholders. Extra efforts should be made to ensure CBC succeeds.

The Standard
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