• With 100 per cent transition directive, numbers of students enrolling into high school have doubled, yet schools remain the same–no extra facilities.
• Some families have to skip meals to afford school fees with state's order that no school-going child should be out of school.
Many more students have enrolled in secondary schools thanks to the state's exceptional 100 per cent policy's attempt to give children the crucial right to education.
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha deserves a pat at the back for trying to see the policy concluded. However, there are doubts if it will hold. The ministry suddenly came up with this great idea before putting basic prerequisites in place which means things will be dragged along as attempts to unveil resources are made which is very uncertain.
The good thought turned faulty when efforts were not made to bring stakeholders aboard and regard their opinions, at least to keep them in the know of what comes ahead. Pressure is piling on school heads to accommodate the grown number of students who are forced to share the few available amenities.
Congestion has limited service delivery. Besides, some of them attend classes under trees since the 45 students per classroom standard cannot be maintained. The government should have foreseen this, having doubled numbers of students transitioning into secondary school.
This is a headache for both students and teachers.
Shortage of teachers has posed a bigger need to strain to teach the many students. This means assessment of learners would be difficult since teachers must widen their attention to a mass of students, something that is not easy.
Life in secondary school has suddenly changed with the new way things in an environment already under pressure to provide the best for learners. Dining halls are turned into dormitories and sometimes other students must take their meals outside, others try to hide from the discomforting cold in the morning and rays of the sun during midday as they keep shifting places under trees.
Needy parents are must now extend their financial might to keep their children in school since the village chiefs are very categorical; they don't want to see students wandering about at home. At the same time, the cost of living is growing every day.
This means some homes must change even their eating habits to save some school fees. Magoha is known for getting things done–and by force, if it is necessary–but then, it makes it sound like education is the only way to live and there are no better contingencies after coming out of primary school.
It is like dying to proceed with studies–especially if families have to skip meals to accommodate education. The policy is brilliant; but much more should be done to alleviate grappling parents, overworked teachers and the state of the school infrastructure for effective learning.
More classrooms should be built, more teachers employed and the government involved in putting money in the pockets of parents by creating more jobs.