There’s need to streamline JSS transition

Junior secondary school

Junior secondary school learners in class at St Kizito, Kabichibich in Pokot South Sub-county, West Pokot County, on January 30, 2023.

Photo credit: Oscar Kaikai | Nation Media Group

The pioneer Junior Secondary School (JSS) cohort reports to school this week amid glaring confusion. The Education ministry has been in a rush to do final preparations for it. But the environment in many of the primary schools that will host JSS is marred with a litany of challenges on all fronts.

Top among the teething problems is the lack of infrastructure to adequately accommodate the Grade Seven learners in school.

This has occasioned a transition nightmare as some schools are forced to merge, to the utter dismay of the affected parents and learners. Also, learning materials remain largely unavailable—although the government has promised to provide them.

It’s a no-brainer that CBC was hurriedly implemented and poorly structured. But it is too late to turn back the clock or demonise the new curriculum in totality. All stakeholders must bite the bullet and address the challenges bedevilling the JSS rollout with the deserved urgency to achieve the envisaged outcomes. The buck stops with the government, which has the fiduciary duty to offer quality education to the citizenry.

10,000 teachers

The recruitment of 10,000 teachers and 25,000 teacher interns is good but much more needs to be done to adequately staff the JSS stream.

The government must also endeavour to absorb the teacher interns on permanent and pensionable terms as soon as possible and not just use them as cannon fodder in bridging the biting shortage then leave them disenfranchised despite working on a measly stipend. The proposed deployment of qualified primary school teachers to JSS will further ease the shortage.

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) must also expedite the hiring and posting of teachers. It has taken too long, casting doubt on a process that should be fast, free, fair and non-discriminatory. Some applicants claim they were left out on the basis of their county of origin. The relevant authorities should investigate the matter.

Let us all burn the midnight oil to achieve the best humanly possible result for JSS learners.

Mr Mwirichia is a high school teacher. [email protected]