SHIRANDULA: Why domiciling JSS in primary schools is a wrong move

Author Enock Shirandula displays his book. Photo Andanje Wakhungu

By Enock Shirandula

The government’s move to domicile Junior Secondary Schools (JSSs) in primary schools has not, sadly, solved the bone of contention on the transition of Grade 6 learners.

In regards to the above, I would like to strongly support Dr Mutahi Miricho’s suggestion on how to solve the CBC transition issue once and for all. The article was published on Nation newspaper on Saturday 19, 2022.

Let’s consider the following:

Many of the primary schools where we want to permanently domicile JSS are in pathetic situations, to say the least. Many classrooms have doors and windows without shutters, enough desks, chairs, tables and cupboards.

Some schools have classrooms under trees. Are we comfortable to let our JSS learners to remain in the same environment yet they did their Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) exams and psychologically prepared themselves to move from pathetic environments to better ones?

They had started dreaming of joining Ivy League institutions like Alliance High and Alliance Girls, Kenya High, Mang’u High, Starehe Boys, Pangani Girls, Friends School Kamusinga and Butere Girls among other schools.

Then came the verdict:  you’ll transit to JSS but remain in the same primary school. Can there be a deadlier blow to these kids’ aspirations than this?

The government claims it will build an extra classroom and a lab in every primary school. What then happens to the ones already built in secondary schools? A lab isn’t just a building. It has to be equipped and don’t forget that it’s a very expensive undertaking.

Instead of dilly-dallying like we’re doing, we should decide once and for all that JSS should be domiciled in secondary schools. We should then go on with the constructions of more classrooms where we have not yet done so.

It shouldn’t be that grade 6 learners sat KPSEA exams in vain. The exams should be used to place them into their dream schools. The children can momentarily remain in their present primary schools as the congestion issue in secondary schools gets sorted out. They will gladly do this with full knowledge of where they will be after the transition hiccup.

The government has assured citizens of employing 35,000 teachers come January. It has also advertised vacancies in regards to the same.  Let’s not forget that the number will be the largest to be employed at a go. But there is still more that needs to be done.

The government can channel the money it intends to spend on putting up extra classrooms and labs in primary schools to hiring more fully trained teachers. It should avail textbooks and other learning materials in schools and ensure learners are in conducive learning environments for the attainment of quality education.

 

The writer is a retired educationist, a reviver of Kabarasi BTL project and the author of SO DIFFERENT SHE WAS.

 

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