Last week marked the conclusion of the first term for the pioneer junior secondary class, a time that was filled with many difficulties. The students have weathered the first-term storm of the new educational system, from a lack of teachers to a lack of textbooks, and are now getting ready for the latter part of their first year.
In order to fill the gap left by a shortage of teachers, the government hired 30,000 new teachers in the first term, 21,000 of whom were assigned to junior secondary schools.
A few primary school teachers who were qualified to instruct junior high school students were then promoted as a result, with academic credentials serving as the major criterion.
On average, each junior secondary school currently has between three to four teachers, with those in populated areas being forced to take extra workload.
“At the moment, we have received textbooks for four learning areas. This is despite having 12 learning areas and two other optional ones. We hope to receive more books when we reopen,” said a head teacher at a school hosting a junior secondary in Molo.
School heads revealed that they lacked finances to expand facilities and currently depend on nearby secondary schools.
Although the government announced the release of capitation for JSS at the end of March this year, most school heads confirmed receipt of the funds in the school accounts only last week.
According to a circular from the Ministry of Education, the schools received variable cost components based on the number of students enrolled, with each student allocated Sh7,268. Out of this, the ministry has retained Sh3,200 for textbooks and supplementary readers and capacity building.
Although most of the schools lack structures for laboratories, the institutions have received Sh1,643 per student as allocation of laboratory materials and materials for practicals under the curriculum
Private schools, however, appear to be making progress, with most of them already having fully equipped laboratories and classes with the right student–teacher ratio.