Back to school: 15000 classrooms for JSS to be built, Machogu says

 A Junior secondary school teacher takes students through an integrated lesson at Nyamachaki Primary School in Nyeri on February 22, 2023. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

The government will construct some 15,000 classrooms in the next one year to accommodate the final class in Junior Secondary School.

Education Cabinet Secretary, Ezekiel Machogu, on Monday, said the government will provide Sh12 billion for construction of the classrooms.

“The Government is set to spend Sh12.8 Billion to facilitate the construction of classrooms in junior schools in conjunction with Members of Parliament. We expect to have 15,015 classrooms ready for use in junior schools for Grade 9 next year,” the CS said.

In December, the CS intimated that the World Bank would assist in the construction of the JSS classrooms through the provision of an additional Sh9 billion to construct 9,000 classrooms.

The government on the other hand, Machogu indicated, will provide Sh3.9 billion for the project.

Additional classes will be built by legislators under the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) kitty.

“We are taking steps to ensure that our schools have the necessary infrastructure, where our teachers and learners can effectively perform,” Machogu said.

He spoke during the second day of the Kenya National Union of Teachers 69th annual delegates conference.

The pioneer class of Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) will in January join Grade 8.

On Monday, Machogu revealed that learners joining Grade 7 after completing their KPSEA assessment will join Junior School on January 15.

The CS indicated that the students will receive their KPSEA assessment in the next weeks.

However, unlike KCPE, the results will not be used in the placement of learners, instead, it will be an indicator of what they have achieved in their six years of primary school.

“I urge all parents, guardians and teachers to scrutinize the KPSEA reports to ensure they use the results to monitor learner progress as they transition to Grade 7,” the CS indicated.

And to ensure a smooth reopening, Machogu indicated that the government has released Sh7.6 billion for first-term capitation.

Part of the funds will be set aside for the construction of laboratories in the institutions.

The CS had indicated in 2022 that out of the Sh.15,000 issued as capitation to junior schools, Sh4,000 will be spent on the development of infrastructure with the greatest priority being on laboratories.

However, education stakeholders and school heads have in the recent past expressed reservations over Junior School facilities.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) said it was wrong to have domiciled the JSS in primary schools claiming that for the last year, proper learning did not take place.

The union also cited poor staffing, lack of facilities, and low motivation among teachers as some of the factors that must be addressed before schools open next year.