Why Primary Boarding schools may be banned

The Government is likely to enforce a total ban on boarding in all primary schools to allow parents to spend more time with children.
This means students will only be in boarding schools for a maximum of three years, during the last three years of basic education. The Government is set to fully roll out a new education system of 2-6-3-3 next month, from Grade One to Three, when schools open for first term. The radical proposals are part of preliminary findings of a team set up by the Ministry of Education to evaluate the implementation of the new curriculum.
Former Moi University Vice-Chancellor Laban Ayiro leads the team.
The team heard that boarding schools were congested and expensive, with day schools expected to effectively ensure the 100 per cent transition was realised. Besides, long spells in boarding schools and limited contact with parents have been blamed for the wave of unrest that has gripped secondary schools. It emerged that parents feared having children at home and sent them to boarding in early years of schooling to escape responsibility.
The findings also showed that children were fatigued by spending more time in schools, resulting in indiscipline and unrest that have affected public schools calendar.  The findings mirror proposals by Education CS Amina Mohammed and Basic Education’s Belio Kipsang’ when they appeared before the National Assembly Education Committee this year. “The direction that we need to go is a day-school system, where students operate from home,” Dr Kipsang’ told MPs. “The ministry would want to increase opportunities in day schools so that parents can have an opportunity of engaging their children and making sure that the children are properly taken care of,” Kipsang said. Dr Amina, however, said the decision could not be made by the Ministry of Education in isolation. “Whether to have day schools instead of boarding facilities is a debate that can be determined by education stakeholders. It is a discussion that we need to have going forward,” Amina told MPs. She said: “Our investigations indicate that students burn dorms and not classes because they want to go home.”
Sources in the external evaluation team of the competency-based curriculum pilot monitoring said feedback from education stakeholders interviewed revealed a huge disconnect between parents and children. The team heard that the increasing cases of teenage pregnancies, arson in schools, drug abuse and general indiscipline was a result of lack of accountability and poor parenting. Report of the Special Investigation Team on School Unrest (2016) also recommended that day schooling should be made more attractive through deliberate funding. “Any boarding school being established should meet prescribed standards as set by Ministry of Education before registration and admission of students,” reads the Clare Omollo report. Amina, Kipsang and the Kenya National Examination Council chairman George Magoha have recently accused parents of abdicating their duties. The officials said the rising cases of indiscipline in schools that led to examination cheating and teenage pregnancies were a result of bad parenting. The external evaluation team visited the 47 counties to collect data. The team also did classroom observation and talked with education stakeholders. Kenya National Union of Teachers, Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers, primary and secondary school associations and religious leaders were also engaged. The National Assembly Education Committee and regional education officers have also been engaged.
Today the team will meet deans of faculty of education in universities. The team is expected to submit its findings before December 10, when a National Conference in Curriculum Reform is scheduled. Finer details also show that stakeholders interviewed want the titling of schools to change, saying the labeling confuse children. Under the new 2-6-3-3 curriculum, pre-primary, lower and upper primary, junior and senior secondary levels are introduced. Kenyans want these titles replaced to read Grade One to Nine to mean primary education and Grade 10 to 12 for secondary learning. Overall, the team recommends that the Government concentrates on rolling out Grade One to Three in 2018 and shelve piloting of Grade Four. The external review team is convinced that lessons learnt during the piloting of Grade One to Three have drawn enough lessons for improvement. Based on the findings, the Government committed to roll out the new competency-based curriculum in Grade One to Three across all schools starting January next year
Amina made the announcement following internal assessment results of the pilot phase that gave the process a clean bill of health. The internal findings were tabled during the Curriculum Steering Committee meeting held at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD). The internal report says teaching and learning in pilot schools was rated at 62 per cent, a score attributed to use of learner-centred approaches. The KICD report says the high rating was a result of supportive physical surroundings for group work and collaboration, and social interaction among learners that led to value-based learning. Overall, the quality of the curriculum implementation, based on international benchmarks, stood at 56 per cent, according to Amina.

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