Schools closed for nearly two months beginning early this month paving the way for national examinations for the 2.1 million candidates registered for the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).
Preparations for the rollout of Grade Six begin as well, with current Grade Five students transitioning to the new class when schools reopen in April. The government will also have to deal with the headache of ensuring that the additional classrooms needed to anchor Junior Secondary Schools are ready as transitions begin early next year.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha is also expected to address emerging concerns about where the Junior Secondary Schools will be housed, as some stakeholders argue they should be kept in primary schools. The ministry’s immediate challenge, however, is to administer two sets of national examinations for both the 8-4-4 and 2-6-3-3-3 education systems.
This year, students in the 8-4-4 education system will take two national exams, while CBC students will take their first national exam in December, ahead of the transition to junior secondary school.
The first 8-4-4 tests will be administered in March, followed by the second cohort in December.
According to Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) Chief Executive David Njengere, 1,225,507 candidates will take KCPE exams in 28,316 centers, while 831,015 candidates will take KCSE exams in 10,413 centers.As the exams approach, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha and Njengere are faced with the challenge of merging centers with fewer than 30 students.
The merger will have an impact on at least 170 schools.
For the December exams, KCPE tests will be administered from November 28 to December 1, while KCSE exams will be administered from December 1 to December 23.Nonetheless, KNEC is expected to release the examination schedule for the pioneer Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) candidates who will sit the end-of-primary education tests under the new 2-6-3-3-3 system in December.
Unlike the 8-4-4 students, who will aim for a perfect score on the national exams, the Grade Six students will only aim for a 40% on the December exams.
The remaining marks–60%–for CBC students will have been assigned by teachers during school-based assessments administered in Grades 4, 5, and 6.
According to the revised school calendar, all students, with the exception of candidates, will be dismissed from school on Friday, March 4, 2022.
This will mark the end of the 2021 school year, with exams set to begin on March 7.
The students will remain at home until April 25, when schools will reopen for the first term of the 2022 school year.This is unlike the previous years when schools were reopened for the first term in every January of the new year.
The 2023 academic year is set to begin on April 25, with the first term lasting until July 1.
The pioneer CBC students will enter their final primary school year, after which they will transfer to Junior Secondary Schools.
The second term begins on July 11 and runs until September 16, while the third term runs from September 26 to November 25.
Prof Charles Ong’ondo, Chief Executive of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), stated that Grade Six textbooks have been delivered to schools ahead of the April rollout. “We are doing all that is necessary to ensure the books will be in schools when learners move to the new class. Right now we are at 85 per cent distribution. By end of next week, we shall have done 100 per cent,” said Ong’ondo.
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He also stated that curriculum designs for Grade Six have been sent to schools in preparation for the students. Nancy Macharia, Chief Executive of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), stated that the commission had prepared all teachers for the gradual implementation of CBC.
Ahead of the implementation of Grade Six in May 2022 and Junior Secondary in 2023, the Commission has made the necessary arrangements to train teachers to ensure a smooth transition. According to Nancy Macharia, 229,292 teachers have been trained on CBC in preparation for the Grade Six rollout. Further training will be provided in April 2022 as part of a deliberate plan to train all.