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KNUT, KUPPET Clash Over Junior High School

KNUT, KUPPET Clash Over Junior High School.

Two teachers’ unions disagree over the establishment of junior high schools and reforms to education funding.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) presented opposing views on education system reforms to the Presidential Working Group on Education Reforms in separate presentations.

Knut rejected Kuppet’s recommendation to the working group chaired by Professor Raphael Munavu to discuss shifting Junior Secondary to high schools.

Knut advocated in their presentation for the retention of Junior Secondary students in the primary setup.

However, Knut wants to rename the Grade Seven, Eight, and Nine levels as intermediate level or senior primary.

Insiders suggested that renaming the new level of education justifies the retention of these students in primary schools.

It has been argued that Junior Secondary school was intended to be equivalent to high school, hence the name.

Kuppet Secretary General Akelo Misori maintained, however, that the curriculum for Junior Secondary is tailored for secondary school teaching with the introduction of abstract concepts across disciplines that were previously covered in Form One.

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“Only secondary schools have the human resources, libraries, laboratories, and more importantly the culture for Junior Secondary. Teachers at that level are trained to deal with adolescents whose onset starts at 13 years,” Misori said.

Collins Oyuu, secretary general of Knut, informed the task team that there are facilities in primary schools that can be utilized to anchor this level of learning.

Oyuu suggested that the action would help reduce waste and facilitate the transition.

He also stated that there are sufficient numbers of teachers with advanced degrees accessible in primary schools to teach the aforementioned students.

Knut further noted that teachers have received training in the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) and have practiced implementing its strategies, unlike secondary school teachers.

The placement of junior secondary schools has been a key point of contention between the two unions, according to insiders.

Knut and Kuppet have also diverged on the funding mechanism for education.

Kuppet advocates an increase in basic education capitation in order to boost learning resources.

Knut observes, however, that teachers in Arid and Semi-Arid Land should be considered for hardship allowance and provided appropriate incentives since various regions demand different treatment.

“You cannot rate teachers in the Central region with a teacher serving in Marsabit and expect them to deliver the same concept equally. We want these teachers to be well facilitated since the area they are operating is quite different,” Oyuu added.

Oyuu stated that the government should also explore reclaiming responsibility for early education. Currently, Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) is a function delegated to County Governments by the Constitution.

“Basic education starts from the ECDE all the way to Primary and Secondary schools, pushing them to county governments causes a constitutional crisis,’’ Oyuu said.

Knut further asserts that Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) is not unambiguously acknowledged as a component of Basic Education, noting that many counties have poor structures with little money and management, and recommending a legislative reform.

Knut wants the government to restart the school feeding program, which was discontinued in 2019, because he believes it will help teachers keep students in school.

The Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KEPSEA) examination will be administered over the course of three days, beginning on Monday, November 28, 2022, and concluding on Wednesday, November 30, 2022.
Students in sixth grade will take the test in preparation for their transition to junior high school in January 2023.

Once completed, the task force led by Professor Raphael Munavu will submit its recommendations for implementation to the Head of State.

KNUT, KUPPET Clash Over Junior High School

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