KNUT, KUPPET Want Junior Secondary Domiciled in Day Schools
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) want junior secondary to be housed in day schools.
The unions stated that due to the age difference, learners at this level might not get along with those in Forms One through Four under the current 8-4-4 system.
Learners entering Grade 7, the first class of junior secondary school, have selected their preferred schools, with two unions expressing concern that most available slots are in boarding schools.
KUPPET Executive Secretary Sabala Inyeni, speaking in Mbale town, Vihiga County, stated that the proposal to house junior secondary students only in day schools would alleviate pressure on existing facilities.
The Knut Executive Secretary, Maurice Chalenga, concurred with his Kuppet counterpart that minors should only transfer to day schools.
Mr. Inyeni stated concerns about the lack of facilities even as junior high classes begin in January.
Due to the large age gap, he says the children who are expected to transition to junior secondary and enter the existing secondary schools will be unable to keep up with the rest.
He added that allowing the younger students to join the older students could result in bullying and other social problems.
More than 1.28 million students expected to enter middle school in January 2019 will compete for limited spots in the nation’s best schools.
A nearly equal number of students under the 8-4-4 system will enter Form One simultaneously, which is anticipated to strain school resources.
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“Most of the schools they have been asked to select are boarding schools. They will be disadvantaged by age as they may not cope,” said Mr. Chalenga.
He said that George Magoha, the departing Education Cabinet Secretary, has crisscrossed the nation and dedicated classrooms for junior secondary students.
Prof. Magoha has also repeatedly assured the nation that the classrooms will be operational before the start of the transition, but Mr. Chalenga doubts the ministry’s readiness.
“There is an age challenge because most of the learners in Grade Six are still underage.”
Transitioning to secondary school is always competitive, as high-performing schools are in high demand.
However, the ministry will now place students in private schools based on their preferences.
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According to a report by the task force on enhancing access, relevance, transition, equity, and quality for effective implementation of curriculum reforms, there will be a shortage of 1,489,144 secondary school seats.
Fixing this would require 29,783 additional classrooms.
Over the past four years, secondary schools have struggled with congestion due to the mandatory transition from primary to secondary school.
Most learners will be admitted to sub-county schools, predominantly day schools, even though most parents and students prefer national schools and other elite schools.