The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has started training and sensitization of primary school headteachers on junior secondary school management.
The trainings which are happening in each Sub County led by the TSC County Directors office are geared towards instilling skills on Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) as well as management and implementation of junior secondary section.
Primary school headteachers will be acting as junior secondary school principals for a period of one year till TSC posts their replacements.
The details are contained in the draft Junior Secondary transition guidelines. The Government is keen to ensure that even though Junior Secondary will be domiciled in primary institutions, the two levels of learning will remain distinct.
The head teachers will also be the secretaries of junior secondary boards of management and will oversee the financial management of the high school wing.
The school heads are expected to receive junior secondary school teachers starting this week.
Some junior secondary school teachers will also be deployed from primary school in February this year.
Students in Junior Secondary school will get government capitation per child as is presently done for other high school learners.
Yesterday Education CS Ezekiel Machogu said the government has set aside Ksh15,000 which will cover all requirements for each Grade 7 student.
He said the government will release sh 9.6 billion towards junior secondary school education by February this year.
“Junior secondary school as per the Kenyan constitution article 53 is free and compulsory. No registration money is required. No principal, no board of management or parents’ association will be authorised to come up with unnecessary levies,” the CS said
The CS said parents are at liberty to buy school uniforms from distributors of their choice once schools come up with specifications of the required uniforms.
“We don’t expect teachers to send students away because they have not been able to come with new set of uniforms. Schools should indicate the uniforms colour and other specifications and parents are at liberty to buy from anywhere they so wish,” he said
Machogu had on Friday launched the distribution of Grade Seven curriculum designs and textbooks to public schools countrywide ahead of reporting.
“The start of the distribution of the Grade Seven textbooks that will cost the Government a total of about Sh3.2 billion follows the completion of the assessment exercise of all primary schools to ascertain their readiness to host JSS,” said the CS.
Machogu reiterated that the government has provided adequate learning materials having dispersed over 17.8M textbooks for distribution in all Junior Secondary Schools.
Mr Machogu said the government was working on the Grade 8 curriculum, to be out by end of the year.
“I am also aware that KICD, in collaboration with publishers, has embarked on the development process of Grade 8 textbooks.
“This began with the training of publishers on the interpretation of Grade 8 curriculum designs in all learning areas,’’ he added.
“The books will be submitted to KICD for evaluation and approval. We plan to distribute the books to schools by December 2023,” he said.
Admission of Grade 7 learners started yesterday and is currently ongoing in most approved junior secondary schools.
However the exercise is still marred with confusion with schools lacking teachers to handle the 1.26 million Grade 7 learners.
There are fears too that the 30,000 teachers being recruited by TSC, which will translate to one teacher per school, may not be enough since some schools have more than three streams.
And as per Education ministry’s guidelines on junior secondary, learners will be taught nine lessons per day for five days (45 per week) with each lesson allocated 40 minutes, an indication that more teachers will be required. Primary school teachers allocate 35 minutes per lesson.
Guidelines also stipulate that parents would be required to cater for their children’s meals and yet the government is yet to set the amount of money to be paid. Apparently, parents with students in secondary schools pay Sh4,000 per term for meals.
In a bid to address the crisis, TSC has now called for applications from teachers in primary schools interested to move to JSS and set February 6 as the deadline.
“Primary school teachers can apply for deployment to JSS. Deadline for application is February 6,” TSC said in a circular on Friday.
To qualify, TSC said the teacher must have scored at least C plus at the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and a similar grade for at least two teaching subjects.
They must also have eight units in each of the two teaching subjects and be serving as a primary school teacher under TSC. Amidst this, questions have also emerged over the requirement for teachers to have two teaching optional subjects besides the two subjects they are qualified in.
Teachers say the requirement will lead to majority of them being forced to teach subjects they neither learnt nor qualified in.
Stakeholders also question how teachers in JSS will teach some of the pre-technical subjects such as woodwork, performing arts, computers and electrical, among others, that they have least knowledge. Pre-technical studies are supposed to be allocated two double lessons per week.
And whereas JSS will be domiciled in primary schools, the Ministry of Education is yet to clear the air on whether the learners will fall under the primary, secondary or college category in co-curricular activities such as sports, drama and music.
And even as learners reported yesterday, the government is yet to release capitation to schools, leaving head teachers in a quandary over how they will raise funds for daily operations.
Reports also indicate that some schools are forcing parents to part with admission fee.
Primary schools that will host JSS are expected to benefit from a Sh9.6 billion cash injection comprising Sh15,000 for each learner with Sh4,000 going to infrastructure development.
The learners are also reporting to school at a time the government is negotiating with World Bank to fund the construction of over 7,000 laboratories in more than 23,000 public primary schools countrywide.
At the moment, teachers are still in darkness over how they will handle subjects that require laboratories.