Institutions will be required to share facilities as the government scrambles to ensure junior secondary schools (JSS) open next week.
Faced with the headache of a teachers shortfall and inadequate facilities like laboratories, the Ministry of Education has directed that JSS taps the resources of neighbouring institutions.
In guidelines released yesterday, the ministry said this collaboration is to facilitate teaching of practical subjects such as integrated science, agriculture, computer science, home science, visual and performing arts. The guidelines stipulate the main activities that require a science or mobile laboratory and/or science kit.
While the ministry has committed to disburse due capitation for the first term by the end of the month, primary schools that will host junior secondary will benefit from a Sh9.6 billion cash injection, Sh15,000 for each learner, of which Sh4, 000 will go to infrastructure development.
The Education ministry has allowed public JSS to enter into context-specific agreements with neighbouring public primary and secondary schools, tertiary institutions, counties and other service providers to share learning infrastructure and other resources.
However, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said the infrastructure and resource sharing arrangements shall be implemented in accordance with existing government regulations and policies, and coordinated by the county director of education.
The ministry shall also develop and implement a framework for sharing and management of infrastructure and human resources among JSS and other public as well as private institutions.
According to the guidelines, some of the facilities to be shared include “pitches, open spaces and other relevant facilities and equipment for athletics, games, physical fitness and health. Small plots or spaces for innovative agricultural practices and assorted farm tools and equipment. Computer science laboratory with adequate computer sets”.
Others include counselling rooms or space for psycho-social support and other learner support programmes, library with relevant (digital as well as physical) learning resources and home science room with provision for laundry, cooking and sewing areas/space.
In the guidelines, the ministry also detailed how learners will be assessed, including a national summative assessment administered by the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) at the end of Grade 9. The learners will be assessed in all the 12 core subjects and maximum two optional subjects. The assessment will be referred to as the Kenya Junior Secondary Education assessment.
At Pre-Vocational level, the assessment will be referred to as Kenya Pre-Vocational Level Education Assessment, with learners being assessed in nine subjects
At JSS and pre-vocational level, both formative and summative assessment will be conducted. The formative assessment will be offered in form of school-based assessments (SBAs) while the summative assessment will take the form of national assessment.
Knec shall provide guidelines for standardised SBAs to be administered by subject teachers in Grades 7, 8 and 9. The teachers shall then score the learner’s work and provide immediate feedback to the learners. A school year report shall then be issued.
The scores for each learner shall then be uploaded to the Knec assessment portal, with the agency then using the reports to provide a national report. This report shall highlight areas that need intervention and give specific recommendations to education stakeholders.
The end of Grade 9 national summative assessment and the SBAs scores shall be used to guide placement of learners in the different pathways in senior secondary school.
The Grade 7 cohort of 2023 shall report to their respective JSSs one week before their Form One 8-4-4 counterparts during the five-year phase-in and phase-out period.
The ministry has also directed that new JSS uniforms shall be the responsibility of parents and schools should not direct parents where to purchase them.
“No learners shall be excluded from reporting to school on Monday next week for failure to afford a school uniform,” states the guidelines.
However, Education stakeholders led by the National Parents Association chairperson Silas Obuhatsa urged the state to prepare common uniforms for learners like it does for security agencies including Kenya Defence Forces and the National Police Service.
“Only the badge for the learners should be different, this will save parents the agony of being exploited,” he said.
At the same time, the ministry urged the leadership of JSS close to each other to consider sharing school transport to support day schooling.
“The ministry shall provide guidelines on school transport and these shall be operationalised by JSSs in consultation with the CDEs and parents,” the guidelines state.
The ministry also plans to implement affirmative action to address education disparities for disadvantaged learners, including establishment of low-cost boarding schools in areas with highly scattered settlements, for learners at risk or with disability. It will also run a school meals programme for the needy.
All boarding JSSs shall be formally after meeting specific registration protocols prescribed by the CSs.