The resumption of learning of over 1,253,577 Grade Seven learners countrywide has been met with hiccups with parents complaining of high admission charges by schools as well as most school managements complaining of logistical challenges among them shortage of teachers who are yet to report to their designated schools as assigned by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
The teachers claim that the available facilities are not enough for the high number of learners enrolling, slow distribution process of text books to be used by the learners, parents having to dig deeper into their pockets to purchase new uniforms and searching for new schools for their children after their previous schools failed to meet necessary requirements.
Even though the TSC through its Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia insists that the commission has on boarded the highest ever number of teachers to help curb the teacher shortage situation in the country, most public schools that will host the JSS lack enough teachers despite the commission recruiting 30,000 teachers.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu had revealed that more than 20,000 schools have been approved to host JSS which means that most schools will receive only one of the newly recruited teachers while there are 12 subjects to be taught.
To help curb the situation, Machogu has announced that teachers from secondary schools will aid in teaching the JSS learners.
The situation of higher numbers compared to available facilities continued to manifest as learning centres were forced to increase the number of learners sitting to six up from 4 per single wooden desk with other schools turning away admission requests from parents and other head teachers who sought opportunities for their grade seven learners.
According to the guidelines released by the ministry on implementation of JSS, the learners will have to utilise the infrastructure and resources of the primary schools in which they are domiciled.
In the long run, the government aims to establish laboratories with basic apparatus, equipment and specimens relevant to integrated science as well as workshops for pre-technical studies with relevant working tools and safety equipment and materials unlike the private schools which have already invested in the facilities and resources for their learners.
Institutions which have been forced to enroll new and more learners from other schools have been forced to charge admission fees of up to Sh5,000 resulting to an uproar from parents.
Additionally, parents and guardians who had their learners in previous private institutions have been forced to seek opportunities from public schools after Machogu announced that the government will provide Sh15,000 capitation for every learner in JSS.
Last week, Machogu launched the national Grade 7 textbook distribution exercise and said that the books will reach schools between between March 30 and February 17, 2023.
Earlier, the CS said that JSS exams will be formative and summative, offered in the form of School Based Assessments (SBA) national assessments supervised by the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC).