City schools congested after high Form One intake
A week after schools concluded Form One admission; several institutions are grappling with a large number of students that are putting a strain on the available accommodation facilities, teachers and classrooms.
Parents are appealing to school heads to put up more classes and hire more teachers despite failure by the government to allocate extra resources for infrastructure development.
The situation has been caused by the government’s policy of increasing Form One intake despite the fact that the necessary infrastructure has not increased at the same pace.
This year, the transition rate to secondary schools is at 82.05 per cent up from 78 per cent in 2014.
But the ministry observes that the increase in enrollment has been achieved through a number of initiatives including Constituency Development Fund, parents associations contributions, private sector participation and philanthropists.
Out of the 927,401 candidates who wrote the examination, 759,603 were selected to join secondary schools while the rest are expected to join youth polytechnics across the country.
About 23,085 candidates were selected to join national schools, while extra-county schools admitted 63,990 students, county schools 123,435, sub-county schools took 481,318 and private schools admitted 66,351 students.
According to Secondary and Tertiary Education director Robert Masese, there is a concentration of schools in some areas with some regions being net exporters of students.
Several schools countrywide have received more students than they can accommodate, forcing them to increase streams while some have erected tents renovated dining halls to serve as classrooms as they solicit funds from the ministry of Education to build more classrooms.
For instance, during the launch of Form One selection in January, Nairobi County was facing a shortage of schools as it had a deficit of 24,500 places which means that it required new 544 streams to accommodate more students.
In 2014, the Ministry of Education suspended registration of new schools, a moratorium that is still in force. However, the ministry insists that it will be lifted once revised guidelines on school registration are finalised.
The ministry insists that education stakeholders should focus their efforts in expansion and improvement of existing schools until all of them have attained a minimum of three streams – the level at which optimal utilisation of resources including teaching staff is attained.
However, the spot check indicates that some national schools have about six streams and each stream is required to have a maximum of 45 students.
Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairman John Awiti told Sunday Nation that the high enrollment is due to reduction in school fees.
“Many children have access to education now after school heads implemented the government directive to reduce school fees,” said Mr Awiti.
He said schools have admitted not more than 50 students per stream which he said is still manageable.
“What we require now is more teachers so that they are able to serve the students better,” said Mr Awiti.
However, Kenya Union of Post Primary education Teachers chairman Omboko Milemba said students were sharing beds in some schools.
“Some schools have renovated stores and dining hall in order to create room for more students,” said Mr Milemba.
He said the newly-created national schools have been asked to create extra streams without being adequately funded.
Mr Milemba said schools heads may not wish to come out publicly over the issue as they fear being victimised.
Education Principal Secretary Bellio Kipsang admitted that schools are under pressure as many students are passing examination and want to join secondary schools.
Dr Kipsang disclosed that annually the government releases Sh600million to the newly-upgraded national schools to improve their infrastructure.