Build new schools for junior high, Magoha tells private sector

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha inspects the newly built Maryjoy Junior Secondary School shortly after attending the Kenya Private Schools Association Annual Conference in Mombasa in this photo taken on July 5, 2022.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

Private schools will be required to build separate institutions to host junior secondary school under the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on Tuesday said private education stakeholders should ensure there are stand-alone schools for the pupils who will transition in January.

“We have said that JSS shall be hosted in secondary schools, but we have walked back because of the circumstances in the private sector. We are telling private sector primary schools that you can create stand-alone junior high schools. It’s a win-win situation,” said the CS.  

For the public sector, however, Prof Magoha said JSS will be hosted in secondary schools.

“Because we don’t have money to hire extra teachers. The reason we are in love with you completely, you will employ your teachers and pay them,” the CS told 1,000 educationists meeting in Mombasa for the ongoing Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) conference.

The CS assured private schools of the government’s support in the rollout of CBC in junior high.

Capitation, however, will not be extended to pupils and students in private schools, he said, after the private school stakeholders urged the government to ensure learners from private schools get capitation.

“There are people who can afford to pay. We will facilitate you where we can,” said the CS.   

“The basic minimum is that children must go to JSS in January. We have targeted that we require 20,000 classrooms, we have data at the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) stating that the current Grade Six are 1.2 million students. Those are the number of children that we have to build classrooms for,” said the CS.

Compliant with CBC requirements

He also urged owners of private schools to ensure their classrooms are compliant with CBC requirements.

“On the small headache of the laboratory, we require the basic minimum. Build a laboratory that will belong to you instead of borrowing. You can build a functional laboratory with Sh1.5 million,” said the CS.

Ministry of Education officials will soon begin inspecting the schools to ensure they meet the minimum requirements before they are registered.

Prof Magoha warned his officials against asking for bribes from the proprietors of private schools before they are registered.

The ministry will in the next three weeks outline the guidelines for the placement of the 1.28 million pupils that will be transitioning to junior secondary school.

Prof Magoha assured teachers, parents, students and all education stakeholders that the placement would be fair.

“I know you are still worried about the engagement process in terms of how the children are going to be placed. It is a work in progress and I will come out and tell you within the next three weeks. There shall not be any discrimination against any child, we shall still have affirmative action. But we are ready for a transition,” said Prof Magoha.

The CS was optimistic that the rollout of the new curriculum, which was started in 2017, would be successful.

He said 6,494 classrooms for junior secondary school have been completed in the first phase. The second phase of construction will begin next week. A total of 20,000 classrooms are required.

The CS visited MaryJoy primary school to inspect junior high school facilities.

KPSA chairman Charles Ochome urged the government to progressively change the education sector.  

"We are now talking to the government. We need to build classrooms for junior secondary school as soon as possible. The government has assured us of its support to private stakeholders," said Mr Ochome.

Meanwhile the government has warned private school owners against making pupils and students attend class during the 10-day holiday after schools closed for the first term.

Offering tuition

Principal Secretary Julius Jwan said the Ministry of Education had received information about private schools offering tuition.

Speaking in Mombasa during the ongoing KPSA conference, Dr Jwan said all pupils and students should be allowed to rest during the holiday.

"We have received information from Mombasa and some other areas where some private schools have put children in the institutions in the name of tuition. Let's give children a break. We know our schedule is very tight and we had a case in Mombasa where our senior ministry official found learners in class. Schools are closed," said Dr Jwan.

The PS urged the school proprietors to follow Ministry of Education guidelines.

"You cannot put children in school at this time and they only have 10 days to rest before reopening. Even if you need money, please give parents time to prepare children," added the PS.

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