Proposal on master’s teachers wake-up call

Delegates during the Kenya Private Schools Association Annual Conference in Mombasa on July 5, 2022.
 

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Findings show that, from secondary school, TTC and university, a master’s degree is dogged with more queries than answers. 
  • TSC says the promotion of teachers with master’s and PhD degrees is a preserve of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), not the employer.

Primary school teachers with master’s degrees used to have it easy going up to secondary schools, teacher training colleges (TTCs) and even universities. 

Today, debate on how best a master’s should be incorporated and recognised at various levels of education in Kenya is hot.

Findings show that, from secondary school, TTC and university, a master’s degree is dogged with more queries than answers. 

Concerns raised by Veronicah Onjoro in “Deploy master’s primary school teachers to JSS” (DN, July 4) that some master’s degree holders in public primary schools be assigned lower primary classes ought to be debated and determined for fairness. 

Like Knut secretary-general Collins Oyuu and Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairperson Kahi Indimuli, she averred that the elevation of these teachers, owing to their advanced knowledge and skills, would enhance the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC). 

Her lamentation over their spending to earn the degree echoes scholar Marshall B. Rosenberg, who argues that the most joyful and intrinsic motivation human beings have for taking any action is the desire to meet their needs and those of others. 

Promotion

Meanwhile, Teachers Service Commission human resources director Julius Olayo and legal services director Calvin Anyuor say the promotion of teachers with master’s and PhD degrees is a preserve of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), not the employer.

SRC has so far redeployed 3,000 P1 graduates to secondary school since 2019, amid concerns from MPs and Mr Oyuu that teachers with a KCSE mean grade of ‘C’ plain or lower have been locked out of teaching in high school.

The recent promotion of secondary school principals to Job Grades 13, 14 and15 and deployment of 154 tutors to Primary Teacher Education as master’s degree holders in the relevant areas was treated just as a second requirement. 

In 2019, Kuppet secretary-general Akelo Misori disowned the master’s degree requirement as going contrary to the Code of Regulations for Teachers.

At the university level, master’s degree holders, no matter their years of experience or number of publications, according to CUE rules initiated in 2015, [if they acquired their degrees as primary school teachers], were deemed qualified to lecture at university only as they pursued their PhDs.

Primary school teachers who earned advanced degrees from a recognised university used to be promoted to Job Groups J and K, but TSC chief executive officer Nancy Macharia told Parliament recently that the automatic promotion was discontinued in January 2014 due to increased numbers of qualified teachers.

There is an urgent need to revisit degree policies so as to mentor learners aspiring to be master’s degree holders.

Yabesh Onwonga, Kisii

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