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Tackle teething problems to make JSS success story



Tackle teething problems to make JSS success story

The countdown to the start of the new academic year is always a difficult time, but it is worse this time with plenty to do within a week or so. This also marks the normalisation of the academic calendar that was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Besides, there are special preparations for the transition to Junior Secondary School in the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

After celebrating their success in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination, it is now time for the students joining Form One to report to secondary school next week. The Grade 6 candidates have since joined Grade 7 in JSS.

The JSS transition presents the biggest challenge in terms of funding for infrastructure development and teacher recruitment. Any new thing comes with its obstacles that need to be speedily resolved. A potential problem is the management of the new appendage to the primary schools selected to accommodate JSS. Some 1,253,577 learners are joining JSS and schools are struggling to deal with what the structure entails.

The selected primary schools face financial, logistical, infrastructural and staffing woes. However, where there is a will, there is a way. The Education authorities, the teachers’ employer Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and other stakeholders, including head teachers, classroom teachers and parents, are aware of what needs to be done and should just do it.

Some additional classrooms were put up but, of course, more will be needed. TSC is recruiting 30,000 teachers for JSS but the shortage is estimated at 100,000. More than 20,000 schools have been picked to host the JSS stream but they are likely to receive only one of the newly recruited teachers.

However, the decision by the authorities to promote the primary school teachers posted to JSS to secondary school teacher status will not only reduce the shortage of the teaching staff but also boost the beneficiaries’ morale.

It will, therefore, take a bit of time to get a firm grip on the system. But as the Chinese saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The education sector challenges should be a wake-up call to the stakeholders to pool efforts and resources to deliver CBC for the country’s benefit.

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