Secondary school principals have urged the State to allow the first lot of Grade Nine students transfer to secondary schools instead of being hosted in junior schools that have inadequate infrastructure.
Next year, the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) will see the first Grade Nine class hosted alongside junior secondary (Grade Seven and Eight), which exist within primary schools.
However, the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) is concerned about the lack of preparedness, saying the existing primary schools where the Presidential Working Group on Education Reforms proposed the learners to study are not conducive due to inadequate teachers, classrooms and laboratories.
"We feel that there is little learning in junior secondary. The introduction of Grade Nine into secondary school should be explored," said Kessha national chairman Willy Kuria, who is also the chief principal of Muranga High School.
Over the weekend, Mr Kuria was officially handed over the Kessha position following the retirement of Mr Kahi Indimuli at a ceremony held at the Kenya Institute of Special Needs in Nairobi.
Mr Kuria was unanimously confirmed without any opposition in a meeting attended by the 63 members of the National Governing Council where he promised to take the association to greater heights.
During the event, the council warned against overcrowding in the more than 23,000 public schools, and called for the return to the sanctity of the national examination which they said had recently been marred by malpractices.
"No school should bother to celebrate any results because of the rampant cheating," the council said, urging the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) not to base their promotions on exam performance.
They also called on the Ministry of Education to release the remaining capitation grant, saying it was becoming unworkable. "The ministry has failed to honour the Sh22,244 capitation per learner per year. Schools are in debt because the school capitation has been diverted to other head teachers who have not been identified by the Kilemi Mwiria taskforce," the council said.
On the eCitizen fee payment mode for national schools, the council said it was introduced without stakeholder engagement. "It should be put aside. It will be a sure way of losing school funds as well as delays, thereby disrupting school operations. Reconciliation of money collected in school will be a big challenge," the council added.
Mr Kuria commended the TSC for defending teachers from public attacks over KCSE results.
In an earlier interview, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said Grade Nine class would be accommodated in existing primary schools as the government gradually phases out the 8-4-4 system and ushers in the 2-6-3-3-3 system, popularly known as CBC.
Under the new system, the implementation of which began in 2017, the first cohort entered Grade Eight of junior secondary in January 2024, and Grade Nine in 2025.