According to new draft guidelines released by the government as schools reopen in two weeks, parents will be required to purchase new sets of uniforms for their children entering junior secondary.
At least 1.2 million students are expected to enter junior secondary school. Junior secondary schools will also have separate Boards of Management that will oversee the operation of the institutions as well as the financial management. During the transition period, however, primary school heads will serve as junior secondary school principals.
The draft Junior Secondary transition guidelines contain the specifics. According to the Sunday Standard, the government is keen to ensure that, even though Junior Secondary will be housed in primary schools, the two levels of learning remain distinct.
President William Ruto previously stated that Grades 7, 8, and 9 (Junior Secondary) would be housed in existing primary schools. Ruto, on the other hand, directed the Ministry of Education to provide the necessary guidelines for the transition.
It is now clear that all children who will transfer to Junior Secondary will wear distinct uniforms to differentiate themselves from their primary school peers.
“It is a delicate balance because parents will buy uniforms. But at the same time no child miss admission to Junior secondary school because of uniform due to the 100 per cent transition policy,” a senior government official said.
Primary school heads will serve as junior secondary school principals until the end of the school year. The head teachers will also serve as secretaries of junior secondary boards of management and will be in charge of the high school wing’s financial management.
Students in Junior Secondary School will also receive government capitation per child, as is currently done for students in other high schools. The Junior Secondary School Board will be distinct from the Primary School Board. These details have emerged as parents and teachers become increasingly concerned about the progression of Grade Six students to Junior Secondary school just two weeks before schools reopen on January 23.
The readiness of laboratories for use by Junior Secondary students has received a lot of attention. President Ruto stated last week that some of these facilities may be shared with neighboring schools while construction plans are finalized.
The finer points of the draft guidelines, however, were revealed at a stakeholders meeting on January 4 at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, presided over by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu (KICD). Mr Machogu convened a multi-agency committee to develop the guidelines.