Junior Secondary School Selection and Placement Process

Get insights into the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC) and understand how it impacts the selection process for junior secondary schools in Kenya

Oct 30, 2023 - 16:33
Junior Secondary School Selection and Placement Process
Junior Secondary School Selection and Placement Process

Choosing the right junior secondary school for a child can be a daunting task for many parents. With the recent changes in Kenya's education system and the introduction of the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC), understanding the procedure has become essential. So, how does one navigate this process? Let's dive in.

Understanding the Junior Secondary Schools

Junior Secondary School (JSS) acts as a bridge, a middle ground between primary and secondary education in Kenya. After completing their primary education, learners sit for a national examination, after which they transition to JSS.

Subjects Offered in Junior Secondary Schools

JSS encompasses both core and optional subjects:

Core Subjects:

  • English
  • Swahili
  • Mathematics
  • Integrated Science
  • Health Education
  • Pre-Technical and Pre-Career Education
  • Social Studies
  • Religious Education
  • Business Studies
  • Agriculture
  • Life Skills
  • Sports and Physical Education

Optional Subjects:

Learners have a rich buffet of choices to nurture their unique interests and strengths. These subjects include:

  • Visual Arts
  • Performing Arts
  • Home Science
  • Computer Science
  • Foreign languages (like German, French, Mandarin/Chinese, or Arabic)
  • Kenyan sign language
  • Indigenous languages

It's noteworthy that students are expected to choose at least one but at most two optional subjects. This flexibility ensures that students can nurture their unique talents and areas of interest.

The Structure of Junior Secondary School

The JSS framework in Kenya is designed to encompass Grades 7, 8, and 9. This is a critical stage where foundational concepts are cemented, and learners begin to identify their potential career paths.

The Selection Process

The transition from primary to JSS is a significant one. The first of these transitions, under the new CBC curriculum, happened in January 2023.

How does the selection work?

  1. Available Choices: Learners can choose from:
    • Two National Junior Schools
    • Two Regional Junior Schools
    • Two County Junior Schools
    • Four Sub-County Level Junior Schools
    • Two private Junior Secondary Schools
  1. Guidance: This is where school heads play a pivotal role. They provide learners with a list of available JSS choices, guiding them on the best fit based on their performance, interests, and other factors.
  2. Finalizing the Choice: Once choices are made, the onus is on the school heads to upload these selections onto a portal provided by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC).
  3. Placement: All learners, whether in public or private institutions, will find order. However, it's crucial to note that the parents will bear education expenses for those joining private JSS.

Criteria for Selection and Placement

The Ministry of Education has set clear guidelines for the JSS placement process. These are based on:

  • Merit: This is gauged by the learner's performance in the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA).
  • Equity: Where necessary, affirmative action is considered.
  • Choice: The schools selected by learners, advised by their parents and teachers.
  • Capacity: The intake capability of the chosen institution.

READ ALSO: List of Top Junior Secondary Schools in Nairobi County: A Comprehensive Guide


Selecting Junior Secondary Schools under the CBC is a significant step in a child's educational journey. By actively engaging with school leadership, making informed choices, and understanding the placement process, parents and guardians can ensure that their children receive the best possible education. The CBC's focus on competence and skills development paves the way for a brighter future for the youth of Kenya.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC)?

The CBC is an educational framework introduced in Kenya in 2017, designed to emphasize competence and skills development in learners.

What are the core subjects in Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) under the CBC?

The core subjects include English, Swahili, Mathematics, General Science, Physical Education, Pre-technical and Pre-career Education, Social Science, Religious Education, Business Research, Agriculture, Life Skills, and Sports and Physical Education.

Can students choose elective subjects in JSS?

Yes, learners in JSS can choose one or two elective subjects from a list that includes Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Family Science, Information Technology, Foreign Languages, Kenyan Sign Language, and Native Languages.

How can parents access the list of Junior Secondary School options?

Parents can access the list of available JSS options on the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) portal.

What principles guide the placement process into JSS?

Principles of merit, equity, choice, and institutional capacity guide the placement process.

Is there a tuition fee for private Junior Secondary Schools?

Yes, parents who choose to enroll their children in private JSSs will be responsible for covering the tuition fees.

What is the 100 percent transition policy?

The 100 percent transition policy ensures that all learners are placed in Junior Secondary Schools, guaranteeing access to education for every child.

When did the first transition to Junior Secondary School under the CBC occur?

The initial transition occurred in January 2023, marking the beginning of the CBC's implementation in JSS.

Joseph Richard Joseph is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science (Applied Option). With expertise in Technology and Finance, he brings his knowledge to the field, demonstrating an authoritative understanding of these interrelated areas. Joseph is pursuing a Master's in Software Engineering, further expanding his skill set.