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JSS guidelines spell out roles of tutors, pupils and parents 

Wednesday, January 25th, 2023 06:11 | By
KCSE
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu. PHOTO/Courtesy

All Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) will operate from 8.20am to 4pm, with learners expected to take nine lessons a day as provided in the Basic Education Regulations, 2015.

According to the guidelines for implementation of Junior Secondary Education (JSE), there will be 45 lessons per week, each to last 40 minutes.

“Activities taking place before the start of lessons (7-8.20am) and after the lessons (4-5pm) should be indicated on the timetable. English and Mathematics should be allocated a lesson per day,” the guidelines state.

Similarly, all Physical Education (PE) and Sports lessons are to be taught before lunch and be plotted just before a break, while subjects that aim at developing related or similar skills such as English and Kiswahili or Kenya Sign Language (KSL), Integrated Science and Health Education should not be taught consecutively.

The guidelines state that pre-technical studies should be allocated two double lessons per week while the practical subjects — which include Integrated Science, Agriculture, Computer Science, Home Science, and Visual and Performing Arts — should be allocated a double and single lesson per week, respectively.

Optional subjects

All other subjects should be allocated a single lesson per day and provision made in the timetable to cater for the optional subjects. “The JSS curriculum is a progression from Upper Primary where a similar curriculum is offered, with concentration on numeracy, literacy and social skills. Provision is made for learners with visual impairment, hearing impairment, physical impairment and mild cerebral palsy, through adaptation of the curriculum designs, text books and teacher’s guides,” the guidelines state.

Learners study the 12 core subjects as well as a minimum of one and a maximum of two subjects from the Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Home Science, Computer Science, foreign languages — German, French, Mandarin, Arabic, KSL and indigenous languages.

Learners not able to follow the regular curriculum will follow the Stage-based Pathway and Curriculum, which is pegged on achievement of identified milestones rather than on the age of the learner.

These include learners who are deaf, blind, have severe autism, or  have intellectual and multiple disabilities.

In the special JSSs category on pre-vocational curriculum, learners will have eight lessons a day for five days, totaling 40 a week. There will be individualised learning and allocation of time depending on completion and mastery of specific tasks.

“The pre-vocational level timetable should be implemented as follows: the official operating hours will be from 8am to 3:30pm on Monday to Friday, as provided for in the Basic Education Regulations of 2015.  All learning areas are compulsory for every student and for religious education, learners select the learning area based on their faith,” the guidelines state.

According to the Ministry of Education, the JSS Science curriculum emphasises on inquiry-based learning experiences, which accord learners the opportunity to use content knowledge to develop information processing and problem-solving skills.

“Focus is on formative performance assessment, to breach the theory-practice gap in science classrooms,” the Ministry explains. For JSS pre-technical studies curriculum, the Ministry says it will be conducted in classrooms, except where learning involves activities that require visits to local sites such as construction areas, businesses, industries and the local community to acquire the necessary skills.

Schools should ensure they leverage the resources available in the compound and the environs and ensure affordability when purchasing manila papers, drawing papers, geometrical sets, first-aid kit, digital and assistive devices. “Parents will be expected to support the learners in extended activities,” the guidelines state.

There will also be learner support programmes to enhance implementation of JSS and pre-vocational level curriculum, with relevant modification ensured to allow learners with special needs perform the related tasks and achieve the targets.

The guidelines say parents have a shared responsibility with learning institutions to provide a conducive environment that motivates learners.

In regard to Parental Empowerment and Engagement (PEE), the leadership of JSS and pre-vocational institutions will ensure teachers are trained on PEE, encourage parents to provide the basic needs of their children, ensure regular school attendance, supervise assignments, attend school meetings, discuss their children’s performance with teachers, and organise forums to empower parents on good practices that support children’s learning at home and in school, among other roles.

Community Service Learning (CSL) will also be provided, which is an educational activity that provides experiential learning to integrate theory and practice.

Building societies

On Citizenship Education (CE), it seeks to empower learners to contribute positively by developing the knowledge and experiences needed to understand their rights and responsibilities. “This will enable learners to assume active roles, locally, regionally and globally, in building more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure societies”, the guidelines state. 

For Environmental Education (EE), it will involve creating awareness of the environment and enable learners to acquire knowledge, skills, values, experiences and attitudes to solve present and future environmental problems, as well as take responsibility to achieve environmental sustainability and development.

There will also be Value Based Education (VBE), which is anchored on culture, religion, morals and societal values that emphasise character and personality development for individual wellbeing. “VBE is best implemented through a whole-school approach to enable learners identify, form and practice values that satisfy societal norms,” states the guidelines

Career guidance will also be implemented , while the Religious Education Programme (REP) support the learners’ spiritual growth. Non-formal learning programmes will include school assemblies, clubs, sports and societies. 

Informal learning, also referred to as the hidden curriculum, is the knowledge, attitude, values and behaviour acquired by learners through social interactions in and out of school.

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