Changes are set to hit secondary schools, including conversion of some boarding schools to day schools upon transition of the Competency-Based Curriculum to junior secondary in 2023.
In a report, set to iron out grey areas in transition under the new education system, CBC learners will attend day schools that are within one or two kilometres in rural areas from their former primary schools for junior secondary.
Designate day secondary schools will be the key transition point into secondary education except for Arid areas, areas with long commutable distances and inadequate subcounty schools,” the report reads.
The report from a task force led by Principal Secretary Fatuma Chege and was released in December last year but made public last week.
The report is titled “Report of the Taskforce on enhancing access, relevance, transition, equity and quality for effective curriculum reforms implementation.
The pioneer class of the CBC will join Junior secondary school in 2023.
The report recommends that learners attend their local neighbourhood day schools at primary and junior secondary school.
The report suggests a pool system that will see a day secondary school absorb learners from several primary schools surrounding it.
The report borrows from success stories from Shanghai China through an initiative termed “Neighbourhood Attendance”.
It directed that learners attend their local neighbouring schools rather than scramble for limited spaces at key schools.
Arguably, day-schooling has multiple benefits including a reduction in education costs for households, expansion of access, narrowing the gender gap and minimizing wastage.
“Day-schooling promotes parental engagement and involvement in their children’s learning and development,” the report reads.
In the new arrangement, under-utilised primary facilities could be used to create new secondary schools.
The changes could see the conversion of some boarding schools to day schools to host junior secondary.
This will allow the use of the facilities that will be left vacant such as dormitories reorganized to classes.
To actualize the transition, the Fatuma Chege task force recommended education county directors to map out day secondary schools and primary schools surrounding them in their jurisdiction.
This will guide the placement and transition of learners to junior secondary school.
The report proposes levelling up of learning institutions with lesser infrastructure to make them at par with those that are well equipped.
This, the report argues is to ensure that no school is considered superior to another.
The report recommends the need for inclusive education, through incorporating special needs learners in a normal classroom set-up.
The report argues the need for learners in junior secondary school to attend day schools.
One of the key reasoning is the recommendation of studies suggesting parental guidance as key for adolescents, which is effectively realized when parents are in constant contact with their children daily
The report, borrowing from a 2008 World Bank report, argues that day schools offer the main avenue to the expansion of equitable access to secondary education.
The reasoning is boarding schools are expensive to build and operate
The World Bank report recommends that junior secondary be localized and tailored to meet the needs of those who cannot afford boarding fees.
Boarding secondary schools were to be reserved for learners that cannot access day schools within a reasonable distance from their homes.
The learners transiting to junior secondary school will be aged 12 and 14 according to recommendations of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
The task force report indicates that during the same period, the learner undergoes rapid development physically, emotionally and psychologically.
This, the report says requires much parental support and engagement.
Emphasis of parental involvement and engagement in Junior secondary remains a prominent feature emphasized in consideration during the anticipated transition,” the report reads.
The report indicated a significant number of school drop-outs in the 8-4-4 era among learners in Std 7 which coincides with the age bracket in which the transition to Junior Secondary is to take place.
However, among challenges highlighted that hinder the proper development of day schools include transport challenges.
With suggestions to solve this being admission of learners to secondary schools only close to their homes
In the first year of CBC entering junior secondary, approximately 1.3 million learners enrolled at Grade 4 last year will transit to Junior Secondary School (Grade 7) as the first cohort of the 2-6-6-3 system in 2023.
In the same year, 1,320,395 learners sitting the second-last KCPE exams currently in Std 6 will transit to Form 1 under the 8-4-4 system.
Therefore the total number of learners entering secondary school in the first year of transition will be 2,6 million in the first year of the CBC in secondary school.
As it is currently, the secondary school infrastructure can accommodate up to 1.1 million students who join the institutions.
This means, should the government fail to expand the school infrastructure a bulk, 1.5 million students will not have a place in secondary school upon either completing Std 8 or 6 under the new curriculum.
The anticipated enrollment will further push upwards the demand for laboratories, libraries, washrooms, boarding facilities and other education-related facilities.
During the Mashujaa day celebration, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the allocation of Sh8 billion to support the construction of 10,000 additional classrooms to support a double transition.
However, given the report estimations one class to accommodate 50 learners this means that 10,000 classes to be constructed will accommodate only 500,000 students leaving a deficit of close to one million.
However, the task force argues that this is a short term problem, discrediting the need to build extensive infrastructure to cater for the population surge.
Instead, the task force suggests a staggered school calendar that will see a section of learners attending school while others remain at home.
The strategy is termed, double-tracking, and will see the government run two parallel academic calendars.
This means that while some learners will be in school others will be in school and when they close those at home reopen to attend school.
According to the report, the system will be designed to ensure that all learners cover the syllabus equally.
Reorganizing the school calendar for the whole year, allocating learners sessions at varied times within the year, while ensuring that a school only takes the optimal number of learners at each given session,” the report says.
In Junior secondary, the learners will undergo a rigorous career guidance programme and be exposed to a broad curriculum.
This will enable them to make informed choices as they transit to Senior Secondary.
They will be expected to identify areas of interest based on their talents and abilities in Arts, Sports Science, Social Sciences, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics