This year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination results are finally out and attention duly shifts to transition to the next phase of learning.
While the overall performance in the examination is commendable, it is not lost to on observers that the country is going through a difficult economic patch that requires proper planning to avoid chaos when the students join high school in about six weeks’ time.
The advent of the 100 percent transition policy to secondary schools in 2018 has brought with it numerous challenges with regard to infrastructure to cater for the huge influx of learners joining secondary schools. Although the policy has yielded impressive results in terms of ensuring the children’s constitutional right to education are respected, it has had its dark sides.
For two years now, secondary school administrators and students have had to live with congestion in dormitories, classroom, laboratories, libraries and dining halls as more than a million students swarmed in from primary school. It has become common for some schools to turn dining halls into dormitories or erect tents to serve as classes and libraries to ease congestion. Teachers have not been spared either and now have to cope with extra work load. That the flow of capitation for secondary school learners has also been shaky is also presenting a serious challenge to schools, seriously inconveniencing operations and learning programmes in these institutions.
We hope officials in the Education ministry and their counterparts at the National Treasury have learned from these initial missteps and will deliver a better transition this time round. Similarly, the selection and admission of Form One students should be concluded in good time to allow for sufficient window for disbursement of capitation for students and also prepare facilities such as classrooms, laboratories and dormitories while also giving parents enough time to prepare their children for the new phase in their education journey.
School heads have also complained that the current fees structure does not include extra costs and this should be addressed adequately. Despite the financial downturn facing the country, we hope the students’ dreams will not be affected by austerity measures as the government juggles its expenditure needs. Education is key and the students deserve a chance.