President Ruto to announce where junior secondary school will be housed

President Ruto at Komarock

President William Ruto, his deputy Rigathi Gachagua, former Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja and Embakasi Central MP George Gathiru during the opening of Komarock South Primary Nairobi County.

Photo credit: PSCU

The fate of the Grade 6 learners currently doing their national examinations will be settled in the next few weeks when the President is expected to make a major pronouncement on the domicile of junior secondary school, the Education Cabinet secretary announced yesterday.

CS Ezekiel Machogu hinted that this would depend on the report of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms, which was appointed last month to seek the views of Kenyans and advise the President on sectoral reforms. 

“They are coming up with a report soon, probably in the first or second week of December. They will present their initial report to President William Ruto, who will also make an announcement to Kenyans on where our Grade 7 will be domiciled when we reopen schools on January 23, 2023,” said Mr Machogu in Mombasa county, where he had gone to monitor the administration of the examinations that began yesterday.   

“Whatever anxiety we have as parents will be settled soon. We will know where the young ones will be domiciled, whether in primary or secondary. We have enough schools for junior secondary schools whether they will be placed in primary or secondary school. We have enough facilities where Grade 7 will be domiciled,” he added.

Learners in Grade 6 yesterday started their summative assessment to mark the end of the primary school cycle but are unsure whether they will remain in their present schools or transit to secondary schools come January. Some 1,287,597 learners are registered for the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA), which started across the country.

Concerns raised

Parents, teachers’ unions, and religious leaders have expressed concern over the domiciling and hosting of junior secondary school (JSS) classes. Under the Jubilee administration, it was clear that JSS would be domiciled in secondary school, but it remains to be seen whether President Ruto will reverse the decision.  
The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers and the Kenya National Union of Teachers have differed over the issue although they agree that the country needs to rethink boarding schools and embrace day schooling. 

Read: Why parents want primary schools to host junior high

President Ruto’s administration is yet to make a pronouncement on whether to retain the competency-based curriculum (CBC) or abolish it. During campaigns, some members of the Kenya Kwanza team promised to abolish CBC.
Mr Machogu assured Kenyans that this year's Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations, the KPSEA, and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) will not be compromised.

“We have made the necessary preparations. We have enough personnel, including security, invigilators, supervisors, and centre managers who are properly prepared. We have provided transport in each centre including inaccessible areas,” said the CS.

He said there are helicopters on standby to help in dispatching the examination materials in far-flung areas, especially in Tana River county and parts of the Northeastern region.

“We have dispatched examination materials to all primary schools. There is no hitch. We will make sure there is no cheating in any of our schools. We have put in the necessary efforts to ensure that," the CS said.