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Confusion as mapping of primary schools to host Junior Secondary starts

EDUCATION
By Augustine Oduor | December 1st 2021

Education PS Dr. Julius Jwan. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Confusion has rocked the transition of learners from primary to secondary schools as senior Ministry of Education officials issue conflicting statements on Junior Secondary schools.

The office of State Department of Basic Education Jwan Julius has issued a directive to County Directors of Education (CDEs) to map out primary schools with spaces to host Junior Secondary learners.

In a circular to CDEs, Jwan’s office seems to suggest that some primary schools’ infrastructure will be used by Junior Secondary learners.

“In preparation for the roll-out of Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) to junior Secondary, the ministry requested the CDEs to provide a list of the public primary schools which would be used as Junior secondary schools,” reads the circular.

The circular signed by Moses Karati, on behalf of PS Jwan, asks the CDEs to draw a compressive list of the schools with available spaces to be used to anchor Junior Secondary learners.

“The purpose of this letter is, therefore, to request you to urgently indicate the available classrooms for use by Junior Secondary against each school,” reads the circular.

The circular dated November 22, comes as Principal Secretary for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms, Prof Fatuma Chege said primary schools will not host Junior Secondary students.

“No secondary school will be in a primary school,” said PS Chege on November 24, barely two days after the circular was released.

Chege spoke on the sidelines of a conference jointly organised by the Ministry of Education and Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE).

The statement by PS Chege mirrors findings of the CBC task force report that said Junior Secondary learners would be domiciled in secondary schools.

Instead, PS Chege said that the two extra classrooms that would be left in primary schools’ as Grade Six learners transition to Junior secondary will be used to anchor nursery schools.

She said this is part of the grand transition plan to break transition walls in close collaboration with counties.

“Working with counties to ‘demolish the walls,’ is to note that as primary school reduces to six years there is space that will be left there for two classrooms Standard 7 and 8,” said Chege.

She said both counties and the national governments will establish a good partnership to have pre-primary children use those facilities.

“… and see how to share in ensuring that these children are supported as Kenyans but focus on sharing resources in terms of teachers and infrastructure for that child to transition,” said Chege.

The circular by Jwan, however, sets in motion the mapping of primary schools that would be used to host Junior Secondary.

The circular wants detail of the school, available classrooms for use by the secondary, the County and Sub County where the institution is located.

Attached to it is a list of 14 counties that have already identified some 1, 652 primary schools that would host Junior Secondary students.

Baringo, Bomet, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kajiado, Kericho, Laikipa, Nakuru, Nandi, Narok and Samburu are listed as having primary schools with excess spaces that can host Junior secondary school learners.

Other counties are Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Turkana and West Pokot.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the government will construct 10,000 new classrooms ahead of the major transition of learners from primary to Junior Secondary schools.

Education cabinet Secretary George Magoha said that the National Treasury has released Sh4 billion to commence the first phase of the CBC school infrastructure development programme.

Magoha said the money, in addition to another Sh1.2 billion from the Ministry of Education’s infrastructure fund, will be spent on the construction of 6,500 classrooms in 6,371 secondary schools across the country.

“This programme seeks to address the classroom deficit in our public secondary schools to allow for a smooth transition of CBC Grade 6 learners to Junior Secondary in January 2023,” said Magoha.

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