Teaching, the noblest profession in a modern civilised society, once again comes into the limelight as we celebrate World Teachers’ Day on October 5.
Calling teachers’ role in our generation “sensitive” feels like an understatement. Tutors impart knowledge and values to learners, which enables them to be productive, socially responsible global citizens.
Teachers are disseminators of knowledge and values, paragons of morality, mentors and surrogate parents. They are social engineers with immense knowledge of not only their subject areas but also the learners’ social lives.
These humble individuals, as embodied in the world’s best teacher Peter Tabichi, make invaluable contributions to society.
Paradoxically, in many developing countries like Kenya, teachers’ contribution vis-a-vis remuneration leaves a lot to be desired. It makes many of them feel unappreciated and disenfranchised.
Improve their salaries
It is prudent that the government and the teachers’ employer, Teachers Service Commission (TSC), improve their salaries to be commensurate with their efforts. This will lead to less work-related stress and demoralisation for quality education.
Secondly, Kenya faces a severe teacher shortage, especially in secondary schools, resulting from the 100 per cent transition policy. The envisaged double intake as a result of CBC classes serves to make a bad situation worse. In many schools, classrooms are literally bursting at the seams — yet teachers are supposed to give every learner personalised attention amid stretched infrastructure in cash-strapped schools.
The government must attend to the issue of teacher shortage as well as lack of infrastructure to enhance quality service delivery.
Another daunting challenge is parental negligence on their God-given responsibility of bringing up their children the right way. They have left the task solely to tutors. Teachers work with students in less-than-ideal family environments and, realistically, they can only do as much.
Technology is another elephant in the room. With the world advancing technologically at an alarmingly fast rate, most teachers are less advanced in it compared to their students, causing a decided disadvantage. Most learners are also so inclined to technology that it becomes a distractor to their schoolwork.
It is prudent that the government makes available and also enables adoption of technology in learning institutions and environments to help teachers to move with the times in the dynamic fast-changing world and avoid stagnation.
We cannot afford to succumb to stasis as time and tide waits for no man and every brilliant feat begins with a hunch.
Let’s all support teaching and learning in schools to create a better world for this and future generations.
Timothy Mwirichia, Meru