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Knut wants primary schools to host JSS as it battles for members.

Knut wants primary schools to host JSS as it battles for members.

In what could turn out to be a battle for members in the implementation of the competency-based curriculum (CBC), a top organ of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has called for the domiciling of junior secondary (JSS) in primary schools rather than secondary schools.

The National Advisory Council (NAC) has directed national union officials to present the recommendation to the Ministry of Education, claiming that secondary schools are overburdened with infrastructural and discipline issues. They blamed the crisis on the policy of 100% transition from primary to secondary schools.

“Ours is simply a recommendation to the ministry based on secondary schools’ capacity to accommodate junior secondary in terms of infrastructure and escalating indiscipline in secondary schools.” “At junior secondary, the age of learners in Grades 7 and 8 is also a challenge.” A senior official said after the NAC meeting on Saturday at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi.

The proposal, however, contradicts the Task Force Report on Enhancing Access, Relevance, Transition, Equity, and Quality for Effective Curriculum Reform Implementation.

Because primary schools lack facilities such as laboratories and equipment for teaching science and technology subjects, the panel recommended that junior secondary be housed in secondary schools. It was also discovered that primary school teachers lacked the necessary skills to teach at the secondary school level.

When the CBC is fully implemented, however, primary schools will lose two classes because students will exit at Grade Six rather than Standard Eight.

Primary school teachers, who make up the majority of the teaching force and are the core constituency of Knut, are also expected to be significantly reduced as the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) focuses more on staffing secondary schools.

Knut is rebuilding after seeing its membership drop from 187,000 to 15,000 in two years. In July, the new Knut leadership signed a new recognition agreement with the TSC under which the union will only accept primary school teachers as members.

It also precludes over 23,000 headteachers from joining a union. The official contended that primary schools already have enough classrooms and teachers with advanced degrees to teach junior secondary students.

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Among the major structural changes implemented by CBC is the introduction of two levels of secondary school.

Learners will transition at the end of Grade Six and begin three years of senior secondary school at the end of Grade Ten.

The government has set aside Sh8 billion to build 10,000 additional classrooms in secondary schools. The first phase is already underway, with 6,500 new classrooms being built in 6,371 schools.

The government is also encouraging private schools to invest in junior secondary schools in order to accommodate an increasing number of students.

Secondary school congestion is the result of inadequate infrastructure, as students from 23,000 public and 11,000 private primary schools exit each year to be admitted to 10,359 public and 1,600 private secondary schools.

Since the start of the second term in October, secondary schools have been rocked by a wave of indiscipline, resulting in the destruction of property worth millions of shillings.


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Delegates at the Knut meeting also approved a proposal to raise the retirement age of elected national officials and branch secretaries from 60 to 65 years, in an effort to extend the tenure of officials, many of whom have less than two years to retire.

The delegates approved a review of the Knut constitution, stating that some of its sections were no longer relevant.

Knut wants primary schools to host JSS as it battles for members.

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