Parents are concerned of tender age Grade 6 learners joining junior secondary schools next year.
According to Ministry of Education, the Grade 6 learners will sit their final primary school exams in November this year before joining junior secondary at Grade 7 in January next year.
Parents are worried that their children will be subjected to abuse including sexually owing to the fact that they will be cohabiting in same school compound with senior secondary students under 8.4.4 curriculum.
The fears are fuelled more so by cases of indiscipline which are rife among secondary school students.
Some parents argue that it would be better if junior secondary classes were domiciled inside primary schools due to the tender age of most Grade 6 learners.
Junior secondary classes involve Grade 7, 8 and 9. After junior secondary learners will transition to senior secondary which involves Grade 10, 11 and 12.
Education CS Prof. George Magoha already said the junior secondary schools will be domiciled in secondary schools.
He said both boarding and day secondary schools across the country under the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) will have junior secondary classes.
However the CS clarified that all Grade 6 learners joining junior secondary next year will be day scholars.
Magoha also noted that a total of 1,500 primary schools will host junior secondary school because they have adequate learning and teaching facilities and land for physical expansion.
This is not the first time the question of whether the Grade 6 learners will be safe inside secondary schools with mature teenagers.
Last month secondary school heads raised the issue of young age of students who will join junior secondary school in January under the new curriculum.
Under their umbrella, Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Associations (KSSHA), the school heads were worried that schools might get learners as young as 10.
“If you look at the recent KCPE report, it was clear that we are having a lot of underage children in our schools,’’ said the chairman, Kahi Indimuli, during the launch of CBC training for secondary school teachers at the Kenya Institute of Special Education, Nairobi.
The number of registered candidates for KCPE, last year, who were 12 years and below increased from 26,378 (2.21 per cent) in 2020 to 33,627 (2.74 per cent).
“This poses a challenge since the training of secondary and primary teachers is a bit different in terms of how to handle learners, and I want to believe that one of component in this CBC training will include management of younger children,’’ said Mr Indimuli.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia urged teachers to pay special attention and offer psychological support to junior secondary school learners.
Junior schools will admit children aged 12 years unlike 8-4-4 system, which admits students aged about 14 in Form One.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education of Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary-General Akello Misori urged TSC and the Ministry of Education to continue developing the capacity of teachers, and build institutions with friendly facilities to accommodate the students.
‘‘The fears which are being drawn in this regard is how you make a child of 12 years to travel all the way from Mombasa to a junior secondary school in Kisumu, for instance, away from their parents,’’ said Mr Misori.
He said the learners in junior and senior secondary schools should be made to co-exist well despite their age differences.
‘‘So long as we have requisite facilities to accommodate them, including boarding facilities, lockers and teachers, there will be no problem,’’ he said.
Implementation of CBC and transition from primary to junior secondary and later senior secondary school is based on the recommendations of the Taskforce that was appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Prof George Magoha, in 2019 and which concluded and handed over its report to President Uhuru Kenyatta in February, 2021.
To ensure effective and smooth transition, the Government is constructing 10,000 classrooms in schools across the country.