Education CS George Magoha has taken issue with teachers who despise practical lessons saying it lessens learners’ ability to grasp concepts.
The CS said some teachers have resorted to offering only theory lessons leaving most learners to cram concepts as an option.
“I want to encourage teachers that if you are teaching a topic like photosynthesis, go with the class to the bush and make them understand what is happening,” Magoha said.
That way, the CS said, children will never forget what they have learnt.
“Learning should be practical,” he stressed.
Magoha spoke in Siaya county where he commissioned the first Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) classroom at Obambo Secondary School.
His remarks arose from an engagement with a Form 4 student at the school whom he challenged with random Biology questions but the student failed to get none right.
Magoha noted that 95 per cent of learners he engaged at the school on the importance of a tree only spoke about the importance of trees to the environment.
“None of them could explain that a tree takes in carbon dioxide and gives oxygen back to us. We started CBC because we wanted our children to start thinking again,” Magoha said.
He blamed the 8:4:4 curriculum which he said is inclined towards excellence in exams rather than attainment of knowledge.
Magoha lauded primary school teachers who have been involved in the teaching of CBC pupils for being the best.
Meanwhile nearly Sh17 billion has finally been released to public schools to cater for the free primary and secondary education this academic year.
This comes as a relief to public schools, some which had been unable to pay suppliers and nonteaching staff due to inadequate cash.
Speaking at Hospital Hill High School in Nairobi, Education CS George Magoha said Sh14.2 billion of the funds would go towards subsidised secondary school education, while Sh2.7 billion would support learners in primary schools.
He said with the release of the capitation funds, principals should not send any student home for fees.
“Principals should dialogue with parents of learners with fee balances to find practical ways of clearing any arrears,” said Prof Magoha.
Some heads of schools had threatened to send learners home for fees, blaming the government for the delayed capitation money.
A teacher who sought anonymity said the government gave them too little too late. “A school with 200 students, and government funding Sh16,000 which goes to stationery: After buying the books, we have nothing left to pay subordinate staff,” he said.
Prof Magoha however acknowledged efforts by some teachers to retain learners in school despite difficult times caused by inflation.
“Some day and boarding schools’ principals have retained children in schools even as we struggle and I want to commend them,” he said Magoha, advising parents in day schools to pay for the feeding programme to enable learners to utilise time in school.
Disbursement of capitation funds is done on a ratio of 50 per cent for first term, 30 per cent and 20 per cent in second and third terms respectively.
Each secondary school student receives Sh22,244 per year. The government also gives Sh1,420 for each pupil in primary school.
The CS assured Kenyans of the government’s commitment to ensure the more than 10,000 classrooms needed for CBC are completed before the August 9 elections.
He said the Education ministry had successfully delivered 6,495 new classrooms under the first phase of the CBC infrastructure development.
Prof Magoha said Mombasa and Nairobi were lagging behind in supporting the government effort to meet its target. “Nyanza region is leading, while we have a problem in Nairobi and Mombasa County. If we have commissioned classrooms in a remote area of Alego Usonga, why not here,” said the CS.
Below is a circular released by Education PS Julius Jwan yesterday warning school heads against sending learners home for illegal school levies.
RE: CHARGING OF ILLEGAL LEVIES BY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The Government is committed to the constitutional provision of free and compulsory Basic Education, the cost of living notwithstanding.
The Ministry has issued guidelines on fees chargeable in public schools. Further, the Ministry has disbursed 1st quarter capitation for FY 2022/2023.
KES 14,231,781,249.00 has been released for Free Day Secondary Education and KES 2,714,037,012.00 for Free Primary Education.
Schools should therefore cease sending learners home to collect fees and instead give parents an opportunity to make arrangements with them on how to clear any school fees balances.
Reference is drawn to the following circulars:
- Ref: MOE/DSTE/GC/V01.lll dated 7th February, 2014
- Ref: MOE/HQS/3/6/112(1) dated 9th August, 2021
Information reaching the State Department indicates that learners are being sent away from schools to collect fees and other levies.
Circular Ref. MOE.HQS/3/6/116(13) dated 21st September, 2021 requires field officers to compile and forward such cases for action by the Principal Secretary.
This is to reiterate that Principals and headteachers of such schools will not escape culpability and any field officer in whose jurisdiction this practice is being cordoned will be held personally responsible.
You are therefore required to ensure that these instructions are strictly adhered to without exception in your areas of jurisdiction.
Julius O. Jwan, PhD, CBS