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Ministry to issue guidelines on re-categorisation of schools

 Education CS Ezekiel Machogu and Higher Education Principal Secretary Beatrice Inyangala at Mukumu Girls on April 15, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The Ministry of Education has said it will issue guidelines on the re-categorisation of secondary schools in readiness for senior school.

The exercise announced last week by the Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang will effectively end the ranking of secondary schools by merit.

On Monday, the Higher Education Principal Secretary Beatrice Inyangala announced that the government will soon issue guidelines on how the senior schools will be categorized. 

"Senior school requires that each student select a pathway from STEM, creative arts and sports science; and social sciences. The selection will take into consideration learners' abilities, interests, and career choices," Dr Inyangala said.

The PS spoke at Moi Girls School, Nairobi where she represented Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu during the official opening of the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair, 60th edition.

Inyangala said the government has mobilised funds for the construction of 15,000 classrooms for Grade 9 next year; this being one of the inadequacies facing the rollout.

"This therefore calls for adequate preparations by the senior schools to ensure that the correct systems are in place and teachers are retooled to usher in the first cohort of the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC)," she said.

The re-categorisation of secondary schools will pave the way for a new, three-tiered system aligned with the rollout of CBC.

The changes come in preparation for the anticipated admission of the pioneer class of the CBC currently in Grade 8 to senior secondary school in 2026.

With only 18 months to the transition, the Education Ministry says the process of mapping schools has begun and will be completed by next year.

Dr Kipsang on Wednesday last week revealed that the traditional categories will be replaced with three new categories.

They are, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Centers, Humanities and Arts Schools, and Creative Arts and Sports Schools. 

However, the PS, said schools will likely offer a combination of the three streams, allowing students to pursue a broader range of subjects.

The finer details of the changes are yet to be released as education stakeholders this week deliberate on the anticipated transition to senior school at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

"We won't allow this time round...to go through sleepless nights like what happened in JS (Junior Secondary)," Kipsang said.

KICD Chief Executive Officer Charles Ong’ondo on Wednesday said preparation of senior school material will begin in December.

"So they have the whole of 2025 to acclimatise with them," Ong’ondo said.

The overhaul will extend to assessments at the end of Grade 9 which will determine a student's path among the three new categories.

For transition, the students will sit, a written examination just like the KCPE which alongside classroom assessment will guide students towards the specific category of senior school they will join.

"As we reflect on Grade 9 and the type of assessment we will have, let’s keep in mind that the assessment is not for placement but for pathways," Kipsang said.

But although the examination will be critical, he said it will eliminate the merit-based admission system that previously funneled students into national schools.

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