End of National School Status: Education Ministry’s New Categorization

More than 10,000 secondary schools in Kenya are slated for reclassification, signifying the end of the long-standing national school status.

This shift is part of a new three-tier structure that will coincide with the deployment of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

The Education Ministry has started mapping institutions in preparation for the pioneer CBC class, which is currently in Grade 8, to be admitted to senior high school in 2026.

This mapping is expected to be completed by next year, with only 18 months till the switch.

Belio Kipsang, the Principal Secretary of Basic Education, stated on Wednesday that three new categories will replace the traditional ones: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Centers, Humanities and Arts Schools, and Creative Arts and Sports Schools. These schools are expected to offer a combination of the three streams, allowing pupils to explore a broader range of disciplines.

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The finer specifics of these looming changes have still to be finalized, as education stakeholders met at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development this week to discuss the upcoming move to senior school.

Dr. Kipsang went on to say, “We won’t allow this time round to go through sleepless nights like what happened in Junior Secondary (JS).”

The overhaul will include tests at the conclusion of Grade 9, which will determine a student’s progression through the three new categories. For transition, pupils will take a written exam similar to the KCPE, as well as classroom assessments, to determine their senior school category.

Dr. Kipsang went on to say, “As we reflect on Grade 9 and the type of assessment we will have, let’s keep in mind that the assessment is not for placement but for pathways.”

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While the examination is important, Dr. Kipsang underlined that it will end the merit-based admission system.

However, the specifics of how the final score would be calculated have been delayed to KICD stakeholders to submit their feedback.

End of National School Status: Education Ministry’s New Categorization

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