Private universities' submissions to CBC task force, including domiciling Junior Secondary in primary schools
- Private universities want Junior Secondary - as proposed in CBC's 2-6-3-3-3 system - be domiciled in primary schools instead of secondary schools.
- Hosting Junior Secondary in primary schools, NAPUK says, may give room for primary school teachers who have upgraded to university degree qualifications to adequately support Junior Secondary and be compensated.
The association also wants government to support efforts to fully digitise universities, as well as enhance Commission for University Education's Open, Distance and E-Learning (ODEL) platforms.
The National Association of Private Universities In Kenya (NAPUK) is worried that a majority of Kenyan schools have no adequate resources in terms of infrastructure to seamlessly implement the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).
In a memoranda submitted to the 49-member Presidential Working Party on Education Reform on November 11 at Chania High School, Thika, NAPUK rued that secondary schools are already space-strained to accommodate pupils transiting from primary schools due to government's 100% transition policy that started four years ago.
NAPUK therefore recommends that Junior Secondary - as proposed in CBC's 2-6-3-3-3 system - be domiciled in primary schools instead of secondary schools, since the exiting class 8 pupils (8-4-4 continuing students) will leave behind infrastructure that can adequately host Junior Secondary students.
The association also wants government to implement policies that will change parents and students' mindset i.e. that geographical mobility is not the perfect measure of transition from one schooling level to another and the fact that embracing e-learning will make Kenyans appreciate that time and space are inconsequential when it comes to acquiring an education.
According to NAPUK, there are benefits of hosting Junior Secondary in primary schools;
- Primary school teachers who have upgraded to university degree qualifications can adequately support Junior Secondary in their current primary stations, and
- University graduate teachers in primary schools can be promoted and adequately compensated to engaged in supporting Junior Secondary.
By so doing, NAPUK says that the government will be killing two birds with one stone. With the tender age of CBC Grade 6 candidates transiting to Junior Secondary, NAPUK foresees an unprecedented social disorientation, particularly in boarding secondary schools.
"There could be a risk of social disorder and mental challenges coupled with psychological disturbance among continuing class 7 pupils left behind in primary school while their junior (CBC Grade 6) proceeding to Junior Secondary appearing to jump the queue of education continuum," reads the memoranda, signed by Dr. Vincent Gaitho, NAPUK's Secretary General, who is also Mount Kenya University Pro-Chancellor.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Kenyan universities and other tertiary institutions embraced online teaching with the use of various e-learning technologies in rolling out classes, examinations and graduations.
Currently, all universities in Kenya have online platforms meant to supporting students who are unable to come to class physically.
It is from this experience that NAPUK wants the government, through the Ministry of Education, to support efforts to fully digitise these institutions, as well as enhance Commission for University Education's Open, Distance and E-Learning (ODEL) platforms.
Among the projects NAPUK recommends to fully actualise ODEL is by government ensuring nation-wide internet connectivity. NAPUK says the national government can partner with county governments in rolling out internet connectivity with free Wi-Fi hotspots in appropriate sites and open public parks.
Consequently, with all the aforementioned issues looked into and enhanced, NAPUK does not see the need to introduce and operationalise the Open University of Kenya, since it will be "a duplication of the already existing open universities in most Kenyan universities under the ODEL platform."
"The introduction and operationalisation of the Open University of Kenya will be of significant cost on public financing given the already cash-trapped situation in most government sponsored (public) universities. The envisioned Open University of Kenya is as good as the ODEL platform already in place in majority of universities in Kenya," the memoranda adds.
To solve the financial woes facing public universities, NAPUK recommends that the institutions should explore other alternative income sources and see into it that there is prudent financial management of all university funds.
The body notes that Ministry of Education's budget allocation for universities has stagnated over time despite the increased number of government sponsored students in both public and private universities, especially since the 100% transition policy.
To this end, NAPUK recommends that placement of students in universities by KUCCPS should be advised by funds available.
In their memoranda, private universities also want the government to address the "glaring discrimination" in government capitation of students, "where students in private university receive less than half capitation received by government sponsored students in public universities."
- Advertisement -