Nightmare over plans to recover lost time and academic year

Nightmare over plans to recover lost time and academic year

When schools reopen in January, three classes will begin their third term, while the rest of the school will begin the 2020 second term.

Ordinarily, all classes should have been reopening for a new academic year spanning 38 weeks.

But a unique situation faces schools that have remained shut since the start of Covid-19.

George Magoha, the Education CS, last week noted that no student will lose their academic year.

He said the government is working on a new timetable to reduce time lost in the academic calendar.

Upon official release, 2021 will perhaps be the most congested schooling year in Kenyan history.

With one year having 52 weeks, and the school calendar running for 38 weeks, the institutions will only have 14 extra weeks to catch up for the lost time.

This is how the Education ministry runs a school tear: First term and second term each have 14 weeks and are the longest, with five days in each for the learners half term break.

It is still uncertain if students will forego the half-term breaks but earlier suggestions by education stakeholders sought to abandon the holiday.

Third term runs for nine weeks with no half term break, but with scheduled national exams KCPE, KCSE at the end.

In total, primary schools take 38 weeks to complete a school year while secondary schools run for 41 weeks, the slight being the time national exams run.

KCPE runs for three days while KCSE goes for approximately four weeks.

It still remains unclear if next year candidates will sit their exams within 2021; but Education CS last week indicated that the national examination dates would be announced soon.

With one year having 52 weeks, and the school calendar running for 38 weeks, the institutions will only have 14 extra weeks to catch up for the lost time.

By January, schools will have lost 23 weeks of teaching and learning, equal to second term and third term.

However, the workload will be a bit more for teachers who are working to meet the workload equal to the lost time.

While primary school teachers are optimistic that this is achievable, in secondary school it threatens not only to overstretch the teachers but also the students.

Secondary school students take 13 subjects and are only allowed to narrow down to at least 8 subjects at the end of Form 2.

This, Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chair Indimuli Kahi says, will overburden those who will be required to take all the subjects in secondary schools.

Kahi, who also is the Machakos Boys School principal, suggests the curriculum developers allow a review for such students be allowed to drop some subjects earlier in Form 2.

But at the top of the pyramid is the teachers who will be presiding over a chaotic syllabus.

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development is legally supposed to control when and how the syllabus should be taught.

The breakdown includes the content for each period, weekly targets building up to the month and year.

Most schools employ the ‘teach to test approach’ of learning and most schools cover the course work earlier than scheduled, a method that has been criticised by various stakeholders.

However, the unique circumstances to save learners from wasting any further time could give rise to the often fought early morning and evening remedial classes, Saturday classes, and possibly holiday tuition could be adopted in the rush against time.

A spot-check by the Star found that a number of private schools are already doing this .

The option of aligning the school calendar with the financial year has been thrown out  with argument that the EAC integration requirement of a systematic way of aligning the academic years.

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