State seeking funds with World Bank to build junior high labs

The government is seeking funds from the World Bank to build laboratories in schools as 1.2 million Grade Seven learners report for Term One on Monday.

And Education ministry’s guidelines on junior secondary school (JSS) show learners will be taught nine lessons per day for five days (45 per week) with each lesson allocated 40 minutes.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said the national government is negotiating with the World Bank to fund the construction of over 7,000 laboratories in more than 23,000 public primary schools countrywide.

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“We will redistribute the labs fairly depending on the number of junior secondary schools in every sub-county. While we construct the rest of the laboratories with the money we are giving to the schools, MPs will use CDF [National Government Constituency Development Fund] money to set up the facilities,” said the CS.

Primary schools that will host junior secondary will benefit from a Sh9.6 billion cash injection comprising Sh15,000 for each learner with Sh4, 000 going to infrastructure development. Mr Machogu urged MPs to partner with his ministry to put up laboratories in JSSs.

Mobile lab
Kenya National Union of Teachers executive secretary, Nairobi Chapter Macharia Mugwe said the labs are cheap.The mobile labs which are procured by the School Equipment Production Unit cost around Sh200,000.

NG-CDF Committee chairman Musa Sirma pledged to partner with the government to build the facilities “and facilitate the payment of school fees through CDF funds, which we have received.”

Meanwhile, the guidelines say Grades Seven to Nine learners shall take nine lessons between 8.20 am and 4 pm with Mathematics and English being taught daily.

Activities taking place before the start of lessons between 7 am and 8.20 am and after classes between 4 pm and 5 pm should be indicated on the timetable. English was determined to be the medium of instruction for all learning areas except Kiswahili, Kenya Sign Language (KSL), foreign and indigenous languages.

To enable learners to explore their interests and potential as a basis for selecting subjects at senior secondary school in line with the different career pathways, the curriculum is broad-based and has both core and optional subjects.

The ministry further directed that subjects aiming at developing related or similar skills such as English and Kiswahili/KSL, integrated science and health education should not be taught consecutively.

Additionally, all physical education (PE) and sports lessons should be taught before lunch and plotted just before a break. Pre-technical studies should be allocated two double lessons per week.

Practical subjects — including integrated science, agriculture, computer science and home science — and visual and performing arts should be allocated a double and single lesson per week respectively.

Optional subjects

The guideline says a provision should be made in the timetable to cater for the optional subjects. In order to ensure effective implementation of the curriculum, all JSS institutions should implement a career guidance programme to empower learners on the choice of pathways and tracks at the end of Grade Nine.

Learners who are not able to follow the regular curriculum shall follow the stage-based pathway and curriculum which is pegged on the achievement of identified milestones rather than the age of the learner.

These include learners with severe autism, deaf-blindness, and intellectual and multiple disabilities. In this regard, the leadership of special JSSs offering the pre-vocational curriculum should ensure the following eight lessons per day for five days totalling 40 per week.

With five days remaining before the 1.2 million learners transit to JSS, the state is faced with the headache of a teacher shortage and inadequate facilities. However, to address the challenges, the Ministry of Education has directed that JSS taps the resources of neighbouring institutions.

The learners will be assessed in all the 12 core subjects and a maximum of two optional subjects. The assessment will be referred to as the Kenya Junior Secondary Education Assessment.

JSS institutions will adopt the names of their host primary schools. For instance, Mwendapole Primary School will be Mwendapole School (Primary and JSS) while Jibambe Primary School will be Jibambe School (Primary and JSS).

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