18 June 2017

Kenya: School Heads Happy About Free Secondary Education

School heads have welcomed the promise by both the Jubilee Party and the National Super Alliance to start free secondary education.

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association however said the institutions should be improved and more teachers employed to meet the expected increase in number of students.

The politicians, the heads said, should ensure education standards do not go down.

UPGRADE INFRASTRUCTURE

Speaking during a press briefing ahead of a conference at Wild Waters resort in Mombasa on Sunday, head teachers' chairman Indimuli Kahi asked the politicians to improve facilities at the public schools and employ enough teachers once the free learning is made a reality.

"We are happy when we hear that education will be free but what we want to urge is that they should ensure the system runs smoothly.

"We know every year there are students who miss the chance to proceed to secondary schools because of one reason or the other, but once education is made free we will receive many students," Mr Kahi said.

CAMPAIGN PLEDGE

Mr Kahi said staff employed by the school administration, among them bursars and librarians, should also be looked after.

"We will be happy to have enough students in our schools but we must ensure all requirements needed for quality education are in place," he added.

Both Jubilee Party and Nasa have promised to introduce the free secondary after the August polls.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is fighting to retain his seat on a Jubilee ticket, has promised to start the programme in January next year, while Nasa's flag-bearer Raila Odinga has said free education from nursery to secondary will begin September this year if he wins.

DROPOUTS

The free secondary learning would be a boost to many parents burdened by the cost of school fees, leading to a high number of secondary school dropouts.

Mr Kahi also urged politicians to conduct peaceful campaigns ahead of the General Election.

"This being an election year, the school heads of this nation are advocating peaceful elections and we also want to ask them not to use our students to perpetuate violence because we understand that our students will be home and they are the easy targets for recruitment," he said.

He said school bosses are optimistic the elections will be peaceful for Form Four candidates to sit for the final exams.

TERRORISM

Mr Kahi said the 42nd school heads conference, which will be attended by almost 7,000 principals, will interrogate various policies in the education sector.

"We will also look at the challenges facing those policies, among them the issue of radicalisation and extremism, the new education system, infrastructure and finance policies. We will also see how we can make the policies better to improve our education sector," he said.

This year's theme is "Education Reforms, Walking the Policy Talk".

NEW SYLLABUS

The pilot programme of the new education curriculum is also expected to feature.

The new 2-6-6-3 system of education is to replace the current 8-4-4 system.

The pilot new curriculum project is targeting 470 schools in all counties out of the more than 7,000 public primary schools in the country, to test its feasibility and validity.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially open the forum on Tuesday, according to the media programme.

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