The Ministry of Education needs to avert the looming crisis in admission of Form One and Junior Secondary School learners.
Should the intake proceed as earlier conceived, facilities and human resources in schools will likely be stretched to the limit. As such, there is need to ensure an efficient transition. First, the government needs reasonable time to set up proper infrastructure for Junior Secondary Schools.
The Ministry of Education should consider having Grade Six learners transit to Junior Secondary Schools in their current primary schools, where space and human resources are readily available.
The exit of the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidate class will translate to a vacant classroom, as the current Standard Seven pupils proceed to Class Eight in 2023.
It is worth noting that in the next three academic years, primary schools will have two exit points; one at Grade Six on sitting Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA), and the other at Standard Eight after sitting the KCPE exams.
In the event that the two examination cohorts will join secondary and junior secondary schools domiciled in the current secondary schools respectively, there will be two unutilised classrooms in primary schools by January 2025.
Meanwhile, secondary schools will have battled double-intake challenges for two consecutive years. This means that for two successive years, as Grade Six and Standard Eight learners transit to the next level, there will be a vacant classroom in primary school.
Secondly, reduced classes in primary school translates to unutilised competence-based curriculum-trained personnel who can handle junior secondary learners.
The Education ministry should domicile junior secondary schools in primary schools for at least two years.
Finally, the government needs to allay fears that children, some aged below 10 years, will be sharing dormitory, sanitation and playground facilities with young adults in faraway high schools. This can be managed by having separate facilities for junior and senior learners. Hosting junior secondary learners in primary schools also enhances their social and physical development.
Dr Silas Mwirigi, a researcher and author, is the Principal, Kagumo High School.