Sh50B needed for CBC grade 9 infrastructure before December 2024


The Sunday Nation


10 September 2023


A second crisis is brewing in the implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) system of education. Last year, we faced the challenge of where to take children for their grade 7 studies – whether to keep them in primary school or transition them to secondary school.

As it turned out, there wasn’t enough room to accommodate grade 7 in the secondary schools. The 10,000 CBC classrooms that had been built were nowhere near enough for the 1.4 million children. These rooms could only take, at most, 500,000 pupils, leaving over 900,000 with no place to go!

Consequently, we decided to keep junior secondary (grades 7, 8 and 9) pupils in their current primary schools. This decision bought us time to increase the capacities of our schools to meet the demands of CBC. Unfortunately, nine months down the road, nothing appears to have been done and there are even no concrete plans for improvement.

The 1.4 million children who are currently in grade 7 will need about 30,000 new classrooms when they get to grade 9 in 15 months time (January 2025). In addition, junior secondary education requires science laboratories – approximately one lab for every three classrooms; that is a total of 10,000 labs.

The cost of constructing one classroom or laboratory is about one million shillings. So, the 40,000 rooms will require about Sh40 billion. At about Sh3,500 each, the desks for 1.4 million children will cost another Sh4.9 billion.

I talked to a primary school head teacher recently and she told me she has just completed converting a spare room into a 20-seater laboratory. It cost her school Sh316,000. Now, the standard laboratory is at least double this capacity – it should seat 40 to 50 pupils. Thus, it is fair to estimate that the cost would be about Sh500,000. That comes to Sh5 billion for the 10,000 labs needed countrywide.

Pulling all these numbers together, we arrive at about Sh49.9 billion; to be spent between January 2023 and December 2024. However, in the recently published national budget for 2023/24 financial year, the ministry of education was allocated Sh6 billion for building CBC infrastructure in primary and secondary schools.

Clearly, this just a drop in the ocean – 12 per cent of the required financing! I appeal to the government to act quickly to avert another crisis. We need to come up with novel ways of raising the additional Sh44 billion needed to put up the CBC infrastructure.

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