KUPPET, KNUT Differ Over Junior Secondary School Hosting
The debate over the transition to junior secondary school shows no signs of abating, as two teachers’ unions disagree on the preparations and location of the new level of learning.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) insists on keeping junior secondary school students in primary schools, claiming that the plan can rely on existing infrastructure.
However, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) contends that primary school teachers lack the capacity to teach the students and that the level should be moved to high schools because the junior secondary is part of the secondary school curriculum.
Kuppet also wants the government to include costs for private schools to build additional classrooms in their budget.
The opposing viewpoints emerge despite Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha’s announcement that junior secondary students will be housed in high schools.
Magoha also revealed this week in Mombasa, during a meeting of private schools, that only a few primary schools with adequate infrastructure will be allowed to anchor junior secondary schools.
However, Knut Secretary-General Collins Oyuu (pictured) says the junior secondary school should be retained in primary schools.
According to Oyuu, there is no need to build classes in secondary schools when there is already infrastructure in place at the primary school level.”
He argues that the emphasis should be on teacher training and recruitment, adding that class seven and eight classrooms will house students in grades seven and eight.
Oyuu said that “in the near future, the government can plan to add more classrooms for Grade Nine,” Oyuu said.
CS Magoha explained why the Ministry of Education had changed previous plans to have junior secondary learners hosted in secondary schools, saying they had been forced to “walk back” due to private sector circumstances.
“We are telling the private primary schools that you can create stand-alone junior schools. It’s a win-win situation, ” he said at the annual private school meeting held in Mombasa on July 5.
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However, according to Kuppet Secretary General Akello Misori, the move may need to be more elaborate in order to avoid subjecting education to a profit-making venture and cutthroat competition.
Misori noted that the government should provide grants to junior secondary students and take the first step toward relocating junior secondary students.
KNUT, as a trade union, advocates for the improvement of public schools with Oyuu opposing education privatization.
Misori went on to say that the Ministry should not delegate responsibility for providing a public good to private entities.
“If it has to be done, the government should provide guidelines on implementation, like it happens in schools in the US, where the government gives charter schools grants to accommodate pupils without discrimination.”
“This guarantees quality across schools is similar to prevent cutthroat competition and exploitation.”