The Ministry of Education is working to upgrade infrastructure in some primary schools to host junior secondary school classes under the competence-based curriculum (CBC).
Primary schools with established infrastructure that can host a junior secondary school (JSS) wing will be upgraded. Those that are under-enrolled and in close proximity will be merged and the infrastructure of one of them improved.
This means that some schools will have both primary and junior secondary hosted in the same compound. JSS will comprise Grades 7, 8 and 9.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha yesterday revealed that ministry officials are working on the number of primary schools to be upgraded to ensure a smooth transition. He said the ministry is using geographic information system (GIS) technology to assess the capacity of schools.
Government expects a 27 per cent rise in the secondary school population in January 2023 (from 4,381,701 to 6,029,168) when there will be a double intake as the pioneer CBC class joins secondary school alongside the second-last 8-4-4 class.
With primary education ending after Grade 6, there will be unused space in primary schools. But secondary schools, which will have two additional classes (three junior and senior secondary classes each) from the current four.
"The new principal secretary for the implementation of curriculum, Fatuma Chege, spent about two weeks in Machakos with her team to work on the numbers and will soon give us the exact number of primary schools that will be upgraded," Prof Magoha said.
Construction of extra classes
The proposal to upgrade and merge some schools was made in a CBC Implementation Taskforce Report that Prof Chege chaired before she was appointed PS. The report further recommended the development of "a framework to facilitate sharing and management of infrastructure among primary and secondary schools that will be established in the same compound."
In the proposal, the capacity of day schools will also be expanded. This is meant to address parents' concerns over psychosocial maturity challenges expected as secondary school age drops from an average of 14 years to 12 years.
The government is banking on day schools to accommodate the majority of learners in JSS.
The report also recommends that the government undertakes "progressive expansion of capacities of existing secondary schools that have adequate land to accommodate more learners in 2023".
Speaking in Kisumu, Prof Magoha noted that the Sh4.2 billion given for infrastructure development to primary and secondary schools in the 2021/22 financial year will ensure 100 per cent transition for the pioneer class, which completes its primary school cycle next year.
Of the funds allocated this year, Prof Magoha stated that Sh900 million has been set aside for the construction of extra classes in the selected primary schools and Sh1 billion to build two classrooms in some secondary schools.
"The GIS indicates that some secondary schools have some idle classrooms and we are going to establish the exact gap before constructing the classes," he said.