Learners joining Junior Secondary school in January will pursue 14 subjects with 12 being compulsory.
According to the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development curriculum design for Grade 7 seen by the Star, the learners will take 45 lessons a week with each lesson covering a 40 minutes duration.
English, Kiswahili, mathematics, integrated science, health education, pre-technical and pre-career, social studies, religious education, business studies, agriculture, life skills education, physical education/sports, foreign languages (German, French and Mandarin), will be introduced alongside indigenous language as an optional subject.
Other optional subjects will include performing/visual arts and computer science.
English, mathematics and social studies have been allocated the highest number of hours with each having five subjects each week.
Pre-technical and pre-career studies is a subject that prepares the learner for technical and engineering and career and technology studies which are tracks in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics pathway.
“This will equip the learner with foundational knowledge, that is a prerequisite to specialise in subjects such as metalwork, woodwork, electricity, aviation technology, building construction, power mechanics, leatherwork, culinary arts, hairdressing and beauty therapy, marine and fisheries, manufacturing and media technology at senior school,” the curriculum design reads.
Integrated Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) and Kiswahili will be covered four times a week, Social Studies, Business and agriculture allocated with three subjects weekly.
Religious Education, Health Education, and PE/sports will have two periods every week while life skills will only have one subject per week.
KICD boss Charles Ongond’o on Tuesday said the curriculum designs for Grade 7 will reach schools by January 23 to allow teachers who will teach JSS to familiarise themselves with the guides and designs.
He said the JSS curriculum has been customised to allow a cognitive transition on how learners are taught and the outcome of what they learn.
For example, he said, there will be more practical lessons for subjects that need a demonstration.
For example in Mathematics, if its measurements learners will be engaged to stop thinking about measurements in theory but to get into an outside class where they can measure actual things,” Ongond’o said.
He, however, said the biggest change is expected in how teaching and learning are done in Science and technology.
It will be taught under the subject name integrated sciences and will be introducing the learners to elements of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
“We are discussing how as a government we can bring science kits to primary schools to take care of the junior secondary component,” Ongond’o said.
Social studies will cover subjects of Citizenry, history, geography, Business studies, and life skills.
The director admits that the pioneer lot of the JSS will face a constraint in resources required for teaching and learning.
“We plead that as the government looks for that which they can allocate, let’s assemble that which we can locally and use it to support learning,” he said.
According to the curriculum designs, Junior Secondary which is the hallmark of middle school main feature is to offer a broad opportunity for the learner to explore talents, interests and abilities before selecting pathways and tracks in the Senior Secondary education level.
The curriculum design states the need to ensure that learners are provided with learning experiences that call for higher-order thinking, thereby ensuring they become engaged, empowered and ethical citizens.