Provide schools with right infrastructure
For the last one week, the Ministry of Education has been conducting a mop up exercise to ensure all 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates join secondary schools.
It is considered a good move since it gives all learners, from rich and poor backgrounds, to at least acquire basic education.
This year’s admission is set to push the population of secondary schools to almost 3.3 million students.
However, there is more than just taking learners to school. The elephant in the room has been the status of infrastructure for secondary schools since the policy to transit all learners to secondary schools started four years ago.
In the spirit of 100 per cent transition, schools have had to stretch their facilities to unimaginable limits just to accommodate an almost triple admission.
A majority of schools have been forced to convert available spaces, like dining halls, to cater for the needs of learners, with some of them forced to learn under trees.
For those who are lucky and have not converted their dining halls into classrooms, learners are forced to take meals in shifts since they cannot all fit at once.
Granted, the government released Sh14.86 billion to secondary schools to support their activities early last month.
However, schools are still struggling to accommodate learners, given the high enrollment of about one million this year alone.
With the disruption caused by Covid-19 on the academic calendar the possibility of a double intake is real.
It is against this backdrop that the Government needs to pull all stops and comprehensively deal with the infrastructure issue once and for all.
It is about time that the government cushions public schools by investing in modern infrastructure to cope with the high number of students admitted to those schools.
Failure to this, the ambitious 100 per cent transition project will continue being a big headache to public secondary schools.
The government needs to allocate more funds to build additional classes, dormitories and laboratories among other boarding facilities.
Much as it is a noble idea to ensure that learners transit to secondary school, an upgrade of schools’ infrastructure will be inevitable so that the quality of education is not compromised.
As Cabinet Secretary George Magoha combs through informal settlements looking for students who are yet to join Form One, he should, with the same vigour, address the infrastructure problems in the institutions.