A teachers’ union has made fresh proposals to split junior secondary into two and domicile the learning levels in primary and secondary schools.
Under this plan, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) wants Grade Seven students to remain in primary school, while Grades Eight and Nine move to high school.
This means a significant departure from the government’s current approach where all the three junior secondary school grades (Grades 7, 8, and 9) are domiciled in primary school.
“Time is still there to make amends, the way forward is to ensure that Grade 8 is pushed to secondary school, let us grapple with challenges in Grade 7 which is domiciled in primary school,” Akello Misori, the union secretary general, told The Saturday Standard.
Misori wants the pioneer class of JSS set to join Grade 8 in January moved to high school.
Kuppet argues that the one-year implementation of the junior secondary school has been “terribly corrupted” and plagued by numerous problems, and should be discontinued.
The union also wants a comprehensive study done to assess the effectiveness of teacher implementation of the CBC curriculum at the JSS level.
Misori said, the study will gather data to inform future policy decisions.
The proposal by Kuppet comes as the union commemorates its 25th anniversary.
The ceremony that will take place in Nairobi today during the union Annual Delegates Conference will be attended by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu.
However, in the event JSS remains in Primary School, Kuppet wants the government to hire 30,000 teachers to handle the rollout of Grade 8.
Union argues that neglecting this crucial step will perpetuate the cycle of poor education quality and misuse of students’ potential.
“The employment of more teachers or interns, especially if they decide to maintain them in primary school, is inevitable,” Misori said.
One of the key concerns raised by the union is the acute shortage of qualified teachers in junior secondary schools.
According to Kuppet, many teachers assigned to Junior School are either teaching for the first time thus taking time to adjust or lack subject mastery in the areas they are tasked to handle due to lack of enough teachers.
This, Misori argues, has created a chaotic learning environment.
Kuppet further criticises the government’s decision to rely heavily on intern teachers for implementing CBC at the junior secondary level.
Misori faults Parliament for failing to plan and avail enough teachers despite anticipating the big transition from primary school to Junior Secondary.
“It is Parliament which has failed in its work to look at this matter with a lot of interest because they are responsible for appropriating money that Treasury releases to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to employ more teachers,” Misori said.
The union also alleges widespread disharmony and discontent among the young educators, due to poor pay.
Silas Obuhatsa, the National Parents Association chairman, questioned the financial implications of Kuppet’s proposals on parents.
“This would mean huge spending on getting a new set of uniform, and even worse for parents whose learners will join boarding schools because they will have a bigger financial burden,” Obuhatsa said.
He said the government should instead improve facilities in primary schools for smooth implementation ahead of Grade 8 rollout.