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CBC pioneer learners join Junior Secondary School amid confusion

 KICD CEO Charles Ong'ondo (centre) with Grade 7 pupils at Kakamega Primary School during the launch of registration on January 30, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

There was confusion in many parts of the country as the pioneer class of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) began joining Junior Secondary School (JSS) yesterday.

Many parents opted to accompany their children to their new schools and inquire about what was required, including the type of uniforms. A select number of public schools, however, showed high levels of preparedness and cooperation from parents who ensured their children reported in new and distinct uniforms.

Rift Valley Regional Director for Education Mr Jared Obiero said the exercise took place at 10,093 schools across 14 counties in the region. "The exercise started off smoothly across the region. Most of the schools reported a high turnout of learners enrolling back for Grade Seven," said Obiero.

He said that 187 public and 1,242 private schools in the region did not qualify, and their learners have been directed to enrol in the nearest approved facilities. "Some schools have already come up with unique uniforms while we have allowed the learners to report to school with any decent civilian clothing. Some will use their primary school uniforms," said Obiero.

Most of the schools did not have learning materials on the first day with the government still in the process of recruiting teachers.

Nakuru County Director of Education Fred Osewe said Grade Seven learners in the county reported to 670 public and 265 private schools approved by the Ministry of Education.

Osewe and Obiero toured various schools in the county among them the Moi Primary and Junior Secondary has the highest enrollment in the county.

"59,000 learners are transiting to junior secondary schools in the county. None of the schools has reported a challenge so far. We are expecting a seamless transition in this," said Osewe.

In the Western region, 579 out of 3190 schools were not allowed by the Ministry of Education to host Junior Secondary schools after failing to meet set requirements.

Kakamega Hill school head teacher, Josphat Magala, said they were expecting 170 pupils from schools that were not approved.

At Kakamega Primary school, head teacher Dickson Wanyangu said they have 512 slots for grade seven learners.

Some parents lamented the high cost of school uniforms, with some schools selling a pair between Sh2500 and Sh3500 in Western. Western Regional Education Coordinator Stephen Barongo said they have 115,000 grade seven pupils from public schools and 15,000 from private schools expected to join JSS starting yesterday.

The director of Kenya Institute of Curriculum and Development (KICD) Prof Charles Ong'ondo was in the region to oversee the distribution of CBC books to grade seven pupils at Kakamega primary school.

Prof Ong'ondo said KICD will distribute 12 books per student and an additional two in optional subjects to all public schools by the end of this week.

He urged schools that did not qualify to host JSS to help parents and learners in transferring to nearby approved schools within two kilometres radius.

In Meru, some learners reported to schools in their old primary uniforms while others were in civilian.

In Migori, parents accompanied learners to schools and held meetings with school heads. "We discussed the new school uniform and other requirements, including KPSEA report, birth certificate, parents ID, Bibles, exercise books and pens," said one of the parents.

In Kisii, the county director of education, Mr Pius Ongoma received books for JSS at Kisii Primary school yesterday. He said Kisii Central Sub County will have 4,488 students joining Junior Secondary while Kisii primary will accommodate a maximum of 200 students.

Nyanza Regional Director of Education Nelson Sifuna said they are glad parents and teachers are giving CBC the support it deserves. He said the government will support public schools that have inadequate facilities, including laboratories.

In Trans Nzoia, some education stakeholders have urged the government to allow P1 teachers to teach Junior Secondary learners.

In Uasin Gishu County, some parents complained that they did not have money to buy new uniforms for their children even though they were given the specifications of the uniforms required.

In Taita Taveta, dozens of Junior Secondary students have been turned away for lack of Sh2000 registration fees and learning materials. It also emerged new teachers had not been posted to schools in the area, most of which lack the proper infrastructure to facilitate teaching.

In Bungoma, some schools appeared ready to receive the pioneer class of grade 7 but others are yet to give parents a clear direction on the requirement such as uniforms.

In Meru, some of the parents looked excited about the prospects of their children joining Junior Secondary schools.

[Benard Lusigi, Anne Atieno, Eric Abuga, Washington Onyango, Stanley Ongwae, Clinton Otieno, Martin Ndiema and Lynn Kolongei, Phares Mutembei, Kennedy Gachuhi, Renson Mnyamwezi, Phares Mutembei Kennedy Gichuhi and Juliet Omelo]

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