Education stakeholders including University Lecturers, Secondary School Principals, Teachers’ Unions, Parents, and religious groups among others, have called for the retention of Junior Secondary Schools in Primary Schools owing to the logistical challenges surrounding the transition process.
The Chairman of the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association Dr. Daniel Chelule while presenting his submissions to the Presidential Working Party on Education Reform (PWPER), which was sitting at Kericho Teachers Training College Wednesday, said High School teachers were ill-prepared to receive CBC junior high school students in Secondary schools due to inadequate training, lack of enough infrastructure and insufficient resources in schools.
Chelule who is also the Kericho High School Principal equally mentioned that students transitioning to junior high school were too young to adjust to the high school environment away from their parents, which would in turn affect their psycho-social status.
“The transition process from Primary to Junior High school is a big challenge and the government needs to factor in a lot of resources including training of CBC teachers in lower primary, Junior High Schools and training of teachers in High Schools in a bid to equip teachers with knowledge and skills necessary for the implementation of the new curriculum,” he said.
During the Education Reform taskforce led by Dr. Richard Githinji, the stakeholders were of the view that CBC was not entirely a bad system, but more reforms should be done to make it more compatible with the current economical dynamics, capture pupils’ aspirations, and also address parents’ concerns on the entire curriculum module.
They also suggested that a new school uniform be introduced for CBC pupils, who will be graduating to junior secondary schools in their same primary schools for them to be distinct from the rest.
The Kericho County Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) Executive Secretary Mary Rotich raised concerns on issues touching on inadequate remuneration of teachers, employment of more teachers, and training of CBC tutors, who will train teachers in teachers training colleges among others.
The Kericho KUPPET Executive Secretary also said that there were so many conflicting policies emanating from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the Ministry of Education in matters concerning teachers’ welfare and the education sector that needed to be streamlined for smooth running the education sector, citing challenges in the teachers’ medical cover that need to be harmonized.
Meanwhile, the University of Kabianga Vice Chancellor Prof. Wilson Kipngeno said that CBC needed to be tailored to conform to the courses offered at the institutions of higher learning, which will transform the country’s industrial level.
The Kericho County Disabilities Officer Hellen Tuei supported the CBC saying a majority of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) have benefitted from the practically-oriented system that caters to the special needs of disabled learners.
“CBC might have its own challenges, which can be sorted out, but so far as PWDs we find it favorable, since learners are largely involved, while talents and capacities are well identified,” said Tuei.
However, most presenters were of the view that CBC was too demanding, high-capital intensive, time-consuming and children needed constant assistance of parents, majority of whom were semi-illiterate to handle some technical subjects that called for internet aid, among other pertinent issues.
“Learners are facing myriads of challenges like lack of necessary ICT infrastructure, equipment and other resources crucial for them. I urge the government to abolish the CBC since it’s expensive,” said Gideon Kiptoo, Chairman of Kenya Primary School Heads Association.
By Dominic Cheres and Kibe Mburu