There will be no boarding schools, PS hints
The government has hinted at phasing out boarding schools moving forward.
Government also hinted at abolishing classification of public secondary schools as national, extra-county and county institutions.
Move to phase out boarding schools, according to Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang, will give parents adequate time to interact and mould their children to become responsible citizens as opposed to the current situation where learners spend most of their time away from their parents.
Kipsang emphasised that the government was keen to ensuring that learners, especially in Grade One up to Grade Nine, are domiciled in day schools as part of strengthening parental engagement for quality learning.
“I urge parents that it is our primary responsibility as first educators to walk with our children. As we move forward, day schooling will be the direction because that is the only way we shall be able to engage with our children,” he Kipsang.
The PS made the remarks during the ongoing 18th edition of Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association annual General meeting and conference in Mombasa.
Kipsang further noted that day schooling concept is one of the critical terms of reference for the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms, noting that Kenya has the highest number of children in boarding schools globally.
This is despite 70 per cent of learning institutions in the country being day schools.
“This country is one of the rare countries where 28 per cent of our children are in boarding schools. Globally, rarely will you get any country that goes beyond 15 per cent. Ours is the highest anywhere so we need to start socialising ourselves that we need to be with our children and the only way we shall be with our children is for them to be in day schools,” he explained.
“I am a parent and even ourselves as head teachers we cannot outsource our responsibilities. We must remain with our responsibilities. We co-parent with teachers but we do not outsource parenting to teachers, and therefore we must walk together towards making our children acquire the values we expect of them,” he added.
On the plan to do away with the classification of secondary schools, President William Ruto, in a speech read on his behalf by the PS, announced that the task force on the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) would submit proposals towards this end.
“One of the critical areas is this categorisation where we have some schools called sub-county, extra county and national schools. They are all our schools and, therefore the Presidential Working Party has been told to look at the whole question of categorisation of schools and if it is even necessary,” the President stated.
“I know and luckily, our primary schools are not categorised and yet we have never experienced any challenge with them not being categorised,” he added.
Addressing the headteachers, Kipsang’ reminded them that they have a huge responsibility ahead now that the Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) have been domiciled in their learning centers.
“As we acknowledge this as heads of primary, I would like to bring to your attention the responsibilities it carries to domicile Junior Schools in primary. I hope you have started internalising because it is a huge responsibility but we will walk with you in realising this pronouncement,” the PS said.
Kipsang urged primary school headteachers to start data verification of their respective schools to ascertain their capacity to host JSS.
“We want to appreciate each and every of our 23,000 public schools so that we can know and be sure that each has the capacity to host Junior Secondary Schools and where we think we can share the responsibilities with neighbouring schools, let us consider that,” said the PS.
Th PS went on: “One thing I would like to appreciate is that my officers have informed me that almost 50 per cent of your schools have produced secondary schools. And therefore it will make it easy for us to share facilities and such f will include our human resource,” he added.
Kipsang stated that schools will be required to share some of the laboratory facilities considering that learners in Junior Secondary will be introduced to basic sciences.
As a result, the PS further asked the school heads to ensure they capture all the relevant information about schools and learners in the National Education Management Information System (Nemis) which he said will be the single source of truth going forward.
“All our activities will be Nemis based...either as we send capitation or textbooks and as we address some of the concerns and requests that you have put forward, Nemis will be at the centre of it. So let us capture all the information that is required of us,” he stated.
On the school-feeding programme, Kipsang’ assured that the government will continue to process it, noting that this was captured in Kenya Kwanza’s education charter to double the number of children who benefit from it.
The President had stated that the government is committed to building more classrooms in public institutions to decongest primary schools.
Ruto observed that schools are congested as a result of the progressive free primary education and 100 percent transition to secondary programmes.
“I know some of us might ask how 100 percent transition relates to congestion in primary school. Do you know it becomes a motivation if you know that you are going to progress to the next level? Therefore, those who are out of schools continue to come to our primary schools and therefore contributes to congestion,” he noted.
The president at the same time noted that both public and private primary schools today stand at 32,000 while secondary schools today stand at 10,000.
“This mismatch will clearly continue to frustrate our efforts towards delivering 100 per cent transition and this is one of the reasons that may have informed the Presidential Working Party to host the Junior Secondary in primary schools,” Ruto noted.