What you need to know:
- What will be the certification for graduate teacher trainees after BEd is scrapped?
- Do teachers have a professional body to regulate them before we go the TSC way?
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) wants Kenyan universities to scrap the Bachelor of Education, or BEd, degree course, which has, since 1972, been the entry qualification into teaching.
The ban, in September this year, is one of the ways in which TSC seeks to transform and align its programmes with the new dispensation of the competency-based curriculum. (CBC). I would rather they phased out, not scrapped, the degree as there are many students studying for it.
Nonetheless, it is unclear how TSC wants this done at such short notice yet the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) has declared the course available for the next freshmen to enroll for. KUCCPS has opened its portal for students who sat the 2020 KCSE examination to revise their choice of university courses.
There are compelling needs to reform the education sector to ensure that our teacher training curriculum is responsive to market needs. But there are questions which need to be answered first. What is the problem with BEd? What will be the certification for graduate teacher trainees after BEd is scrapped? Do teachers have a professional body to regulate them before we go the TSC way?
There is arguably nothing wrong about BEd. It is a course that is popular even with top Western universities such as Havard, Stanford, Oxford, Toronto, Cambridge, California (Berkeley) and others, including Hong Kong. Our conversation should be centred on reviewing rather than scrapping the course. This is common and best practice globally.
Keep it relevant
Once a programme is up and running, reviews will keep it relevant and fit for purpose. There is a need for wider consultation among all education stakeholders so that any change to teacher training, no matter how small, are deliberated exhaustively.
Scrapping of a course is not an option.TSC can liaise with universities and put forward the aspects of the programme that it wants reviewed so that the course contributes to the changing education curriculum and intended learning outcomes.
Some countries have reformed their education sectors without scrapping teacher training courses. Argentina began their education reform in 2006 and established and developed a standard that is coherent with its teacher training structure. It has greatly reformed the system by establishing a national requirement of a five- instead of four-year BEd course. But they did not scrap the course.
The bottom line is, our BEd degree must address the changes in the practical or pedagogical aspects of CBC, and this can be accommodated through major or constant reviews of the programme by universities.
This will ensure that the course serves its primary purpose, which is to enable teachers to acquire new understanding and instructional skills, and focus itself on the new learning, environments of CBC. Fundamentally, with BEd, our teachers are still effective in the classroom.
Dr Kapkiai teaches in the school of Education and Human Resource Development at Kisii University’s Eldoret Campus..email@example.com