The 2021 school calendar began on Monday for all classes except Form One learners, who report to school today.
Many parents are still struggling to understand the implications of the crash programme on their children and financial planning.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the school calendar.
1. How long will the school year be?
The academic year will be covered in 30 weeks instead of the usual 39. It will run from July 26, 2021 to March 4, 2022. The reorganised programme was drawn up in December so as to recover the time lost last year and avoid cases of learners repeating classes, as was earlier feared.
2. How many terms are still left this academic year?
There will still be one more term left after the current one ends on October 1, 2021. As a result of the reorganisation, four school terms were squeezed into this year and learners will cover four more next year. The learners will have a three-day half-term break from August 26 to 29. As many parents are acutely aware, this will inevitably put a strain on their finances.
3. Who will be affected by the new dates?
According to the Ministry of Education, the reorganised calendar will guide learning in pre-primary, primary, secondary and teacher-training colleges. Universities and other middle-level colleges run their own independent calendars.
4. For how long will the crash programme be in use?
It will be in use for the next one year and a half before the regular programme resumes in January 2023. That is also when the CBC pioneer class will join junior secondary school, a key milestone in the history of education in Kenya.
5. How long will school holidays be?
The holidays will be short, with learners and teachers only breaking for one week at the end of most terms. At the end of this term, the holidays will be between October 2 and 10, 2021. The end-of-year break will be the longest, taking seven weeks from March 4 to April 24 2022.
6. When will the next term begin?
Learners will open school for Term II on October 11 and close on December 23, just two days before Christmas Day. There is no provision for a half-term break during the term.
Many families might not embark on the traditional holiday travel not only because of the tight schedule but also because in 10 days, parents will have to pay school fees when their children open for the last term of the year on January 2, 2022.
7. When will KCPE and KCSE candidates sit their examinations?
Learners currently in Standard Eight will sit their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations from March 7 to March 10, 2022. Form Fours will sit the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations in three weeks from March 11 to April 1, 2022. This will be followed by marking between April 4 and 22.
8. Which other national examinations will be administered?
The third term will have five national examinations. Before schools close to pave the way for KCPE and KCSE, grades Three, Four and Five learners will undertake national formative assessments. With the exception of the Grade Three assessment, these will contribute to their final grade at the end of Grade Six before they transition to junior secondary school. Each of these assessments will be weighted at 20 per cent and will be school-based. There will be another assessment in Grade Six and the final one contributing 40 per cent.
These will be the last national examinations under Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, because another government is expected to take over after the General Election in August.
9. In total, how many national examinations will there be in 2022?
For the first time in history, there will be a second set of national examinations in November and December. These will be KCPE for the learners currently in Standard Seven and KCSE for those now in Form Three.
In addition, before the term ends, there will be national assessments for learners in grades Three, Four, Five and Six. This takes the tally to eleven.
10. When will the second set of national examinations be administered?
As other learners proceed on holiday, KCPE and KCSE candidates will be left in school. KCPE examinations will take place between November 28 and December 1 while KCSE tests will be administered from December 1 to 23. These will be marked from January 2 to 20 January 2023.
On Monday, the Ministry of Education announced that it is extending the deadline for registration of KCPE and KCSE candidates, earlier set for July 31, to August 14, 2021.