As the first batch of Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) learners begin junior secondary school (JSS) today, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is in disarray.
According to sources close to the Commission, the TSC intends to deploy primary school teachers (P1 teachers) to handle Grade 7 lessons.
Admission for Grade 7 students begins today, but the TSC has yet to finalize the recruitment and deployment of the 30,000 teachers who are expected to teach in the newly introduced section of schools.
Junior secondary teacher recruitment and deployment might begin as early as late February or perhaps March.
The government is dealing with a teacher shortage and inadequate infrastructure. Though the government announced JSS guidelines last week, teachers, parents, and other education stakeholders believe there are still many unanswered questions.
Despite the difficulties, the government has urged principals to make due with the limited resources and facilities when they admit students.
There are also concerns that the 30,000 teachers being recruited, which equate to one teacher per school, may be insufficient, given that some schools have more than three streams.
In addition, according to the Education Ministry’s JSS rules, students will be taught nine lessons per day for five days (45 per week), with each lesson lasting 40 minutes, implying that additional teachers will be needed. Primary school teachers allocate 35 minutes per lesson.
The guidelines also state that parents would be forced to cater for their children’s meals, but the government has yet to establish the amount of money to be paid. Apparently, parents with secondary school pupils spend sh.4,000 every term on meals.
While Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu stated that Grade Six students transitioning to JSS will be required to wear a different color or type of uniform that distinguishes them from primary school students, most schools have yet to come up with designs and colors, leaving parents befuddled.
While asking parents not to panic, Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association (KEPSHA) chairman Johnson Nzioka wants head teachers to give parents additional time to purchase school uniforms.
“I know parents will have a challenge because of the short period of changing the uniform. “However, I urge all head teachers to grant parents a grace period to enable them to change over to the new uniform within an agreeable time frame,” Nzioka said .
He stated that, despite the fact that the instructions for JSS implementation were only provided last week, schools are ready to accommodate the students. Nzioka stated that head teachers are mindful of the country’s difficult economic times and will allow parents a grace period for uniform changeover. He warned schools against taking advantage of the circumstances. He stated that students can report today wearing their old uniform while their parents work on acquiring the new one.
“It’s good to abide by the change of uniform because we also want them to feel the change.” “Try as much as possible to get the new ones,” he added. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is yet to finalize the recruitment and deployment of 30,000 that began early this year, posing another challenge to schools on who will manage the learners as they report this morning.
Nzioka confirmed that TSC has pledged to begin deploying teachers today, with one for each class of 50 students.
In the meantime, Nzioka stated that the management of existing primary schools where JSS would be housed has been tasked with identifying teachers to temporarily oversee the learners until TSC completes the deployment process.
“You see, we have very qualified teachers in primary schools—teachers with a bachelor’s degree or even higher qualifications.” We know this because we have their papers. “They have been assigned to receive and handle the JSS learners,” he explained.
TSC had said that newly recruited teachers would report today to allow for smooth learning.
In a bid to address the crisis, TSC has now called for applications from teachers in primary schools interested to move to JSS and set February 6 as the deadline.
“Primary school teachers can apply for deployment to JSS. Deadline for application is February 6,” TSC said in a circular on Friday.