Is The 100 percent Form 1 Transition Policy Championing For Quantity Instead Of Quality?
The mop up exercise that was targeting 2020 KCPE candidates who were yet to join secondary school entered its home stretch on Friday 3rd September 2021 with the Education ministry reporting a significant increase of 10.28% by August 2021 from last year’s number, this the ministry said was an indication the 100 percent form one transition is effective despite concerns from some quarters.
“It is far much better for our children to be in school than to be loitering in the slums. Kenya is providing the highest amount of capitation for education in the whole of Africa so do not listen to the evil nay Sayers because they actually don’t know what they are talking about” education CS George Magoha said while leading a mop up exercise for learners yet to join form one in Nyalenda slum in Kisumu county on 25th August 2021.
During that period the CS even came out to warn Parents whose children will not have reported to secondary school by 3rd of September 2021 that they would be arrested and charged. This he said is because the parents would have played a part in denying their children the right to education.
Speaking in Kiandutu slums in Thika on 31st August 2021, the CS told Parents to take their children to the nearby day secondary schools which he said were free.
“When a child goes to school, everything is there all that a child has to buy is school uniform and if the school has an arrangement for lunch the child may opt to contribute. So there is no reason why all the children should not be mobilized to the secondary schools around,” Magoha said.
The ministry revealed that the performance of the coastal region was poor with a transition rate of between 50 to 70%, Busia with 85% as opposed to Nyeri county, Bomet,Mandera and Nyamira which had achieved over 100% transition.
But why is it that in this 21st century we are still having cases of children not reporting to school? What is contributing to this? Who should we blame? And which is the best way to solve this problem?
To the extent of seeing a Cabinet Secretary personally visiting counties to ensure learners are in school and at the same time giving a warning to parents reveals a gap in the education sector.
With about 60,000 learners yet to join form one from a total of 1,179,192, many parents citing in ability to raise school fees and purchase of school uniforms as reasons for not taking their children to school education experts need to come up with best way to solve this.
“Serikali inafunga shule wiki moja tu sasa nitatoa wapi pesa ya school fees au uniform kwa hiyo wiki moja? How will I be able to cater for fees together with school uniform all at once following this one week shortest holiday? One Jared Otieno a security guard from Kibra Asked.
He hit out at the government for the poor timing of opening of schools reiterating that he was not ready to pay form one school fees keeping in mind he has other children in school.
The sad part of this whole initiative that is supposed to have good intentions, is with the arresting of Parents who do not hid the governments plea to take children to high school, the government claiming education is free. But is education really free? Yes there is a subsidy that the government caters for every child every year 1,420 shillings for primary school pupils as those in secondary schools are allocated 22,244 shillings but still with this, every parent is required to pay for uniform or even boarding fees something that a number of parents are struggling with.
The government has done little to invest in infrastructure in both Primary and Secondary schools with this, the ambitious 100 percent form one transition would not be achieved if enough money is not allocated for the building of more classes and even dormitories and other important facilities.
Secondary schools for example, are enrolling double there required number for form one slots yet the number of classrooms and even dormitories still remain the same.
Currently we have CBC curriculum that is being implemented in a few years’ time we will have a double intake that will lead to an excess of 1 million new learners unleashed in secondary schools, where will these learners go to with the limited classrooms we have? Or will they be forced to learn under trees or dining halls? And would this not compromise the education standards? I am just asking.
BY WEMA TOYWA #WEMA’STAKE