- The Form One students will be joining others in upper classes.
- Statistics indicate that secondary schools in the country have a shortage of 47,576 teachers.
Secondary school principals have to brace for tough times ahead as the government rolls out free secondary education in January next year.
The programme is aimed at ensuring that all Standard Eight candidates join Form One.
The schools must be ready with adequate classrooms, desks, chairs, laboratories and teachers to provide quality education to more than 1 million candidates who sat this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination.
Despite the looming challenges, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Friday remained bullish that the government was committed to ensuring quality and relevant education.
“We are developing every learner’s potential at all levels through a competence-based education and training approach, so as to ensure that there is provision of skilled human resources required to drive sustainable development goals in Kenya,” Dr Matiang’i said at the Kenya Institute of Management’s 16th graduation ceremony at Safaricom Kasarani Stadium.
The Form One students will be joining others in upper classes. Together, they present a big challenge to school administrators, who have to abide by the government directive while trying to make the best use of the limited resources available.
According to the government’s plan, 903,200 pupils will join public secondary schools and 100,322 private ones.
This year, 790,680 out of the 942,021 candidates who sat last year’s KCPE exam joined secondary schools, recording a transition rate of 83.93 per cent. Included in this figure were 72,744 candidates who joined private schools.
To absorb these students, the government this year released Sh6 billion to 2,574 selected schools out of 8,526, including county and national ones, to build additional facilities such as classrooms and laboratories to expand capacity for the expected high enrolment.
If these funds were distributed equally to these schools, each one received about Sh2.3 million, which experts say is hardly enough to put in place the required facilities.
A number of principals who spoke to the Saturday Nation but requested not to be named for fear of reprisal were apprehensive about the implementation of the programme.
They said their major concern is the shortage of teachers, classrooms, desks and other essential infrastructure.
“We need modern laboratories and classrooms to accommodate more students and offer quality education. Most day schools hire their own teachers and with these developments, the majority of parents will be reluctant to contribute anything,” said a headteacher.
Statistics from the Education ministry indicate that secondary schools in the country have a shortage of 47,576 teachers. The shortage will get worse when the free day secondary school programme begins in January.