By Evans Ongwae
Mount Kenya University (MKU) is set to train practising teachers and instructional leaders under a newly launched Teacher Service Commission (TSC) programme. The university is one of the four institutions accredited and approved by TSC to offer Teacher Professional Development (TPD) training.
The training will equip all registered teachers and instructional leaders in primary and secondary schools, as well as those in Kenyan colleges, with the professional skills they need to thrive in a dynamic and challenging teaching environment.
The university is set to roll-out the first unit called TPD Introductory Module. This module will introduce teachers to Teacher Professional Development and to the Seven (7) Kenya Professional Teaching Standards (KePTS). The module has five (5) chapters, which are to be completed within one year.
MKU Vice-Chancellor Prof Deogratius JAGANYI explains the rationale for this training by quoting a statement that Asian Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore made nearly 100 years ago; a proclamation that still holds today. Mr Tagore said in 1922: “A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame. The teacher who has come to the end of his subject, who has no living traffic with his knowledge but merely repeats his lesson to his students, can only load their minds, he cannot quicken them.”
Also, as OECD noted way back in 1989: “Teachers are at the heart of the educational process. The greater the importance attached to education as a whole – whether for cultural transmission, for social cohesion and justice, or for human resource development so critical in modern, technology-based economies – the higher is the priority that must be accorded to the teachers responsible for that education.”
Under TPD, teachers are expected to undertake an introductory module and six others to continue practising. This is a lifelong learning programme where a teacher is required to undertake one chapter per year.
TPD is the continuous updating of professional knowledge and improvement of personal competencies throughout one’s teaching life. Due to the dynamic environment in which teachers work, professional teacher development is a prerequisite for effective teaching and learning in the classroom, notes Prof JAGANYI.
This training provides opportunities for teachers to explore new roles, develop new instructional and leadership techniques, refine their practice and broaden their outlook as educators and as individuals.
The overall objective of the TPD is to improve learning outcomes in Kenyan schools by:
- Institutionalising a culture of life-long learning of teachers and instructional leaders;
- Promoting institution-based professional learning practices;
- Equipping teachers and instructional leaders with 21st Century skills;
- Building capacity for teachers and instructional leaders’ competencies in creating supportive, safe and healthy learning environments.
TSC, which developed the TPD policy framework, has a statutory mandate through the enactment of TSC Act Cap 212 section 11(e), to facilitate professional development of teachers. The Commission, in its endeavour to achieve this objective, has developed a comprehensive Teacher Development Policy framework, which spells out the seven Kenya Professional Teaching Standards (KePTS) for both teachers and instructional leaders.
Mode of delivery
Delivery will assume a blended mode, where face-to-face (on site) training shall be done during school holidays and Online learning where the teachers and instructional leaders shall access the content online any time anywhere via modern technologies.
MKU will use a combination of various technology-driven interactive learning platforms to deliver an awesome learner experience through self- paced learning. The university will use Microsoft Teams for interactive video sessions, question and answer sessions, breakout sessions, and short-recorded videos amongst other platforms, on certain topics, to guide the learner.
Support to Learners
- Training manuals
- Short and personalised videos
- Online training through Microsoft Teams and other interactive e-learning platforms
- Online ticketing and helpdesk
- Knowledge-based database
- E-resources and library access.
MKU TPD App (kindly download from Google Playstore)
This app will allow for easy application procedure and students on-boarding process with the following features:
- Paybill integration for easy application
- Registration process
- Integration with Sakai to allow access to resources
- Communication, feedback and progress monitoring.
The content of each chapter is based on current knowledge and research applicable to the practical needs of a Kenyan classroom teacher. The content and activities are applicable in real-life situation of a practising teacher, are self-directed and experiential. They reflect a diversity of perspectives and address the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of a teacher in line with the TPD Policy Framework.
The assessment will include self-evaluation, portfolio, and journals, among others. This will involve Preparation of Reflective Learning Journal, Organising a Final Synthesis Seminar and Preparation of Professional Teaching Portfolio. The three assignments will account for 60 percent of a teacher’s annual TPD score. The rest (40 percent) will be obtained through TPAD process.
- Transcripts will be issued to students upon completion of a chapter and the same shared with the Teachers Service Commission.
- Upon successful completion of the TPD programme, a teacher shall be issued with a teaching certificate renewable every five years.
Why undergo TPD at MKU?
Prof JAGANYI points out that MKU has adequate infrastructural network, modern reliable technology and human resource capacity for the successful implementation of TPD. The university has spread its network within the country in a formidable physical presence through campuses, Open, Distance, and Electronic Learning (ODEL) centres, marketing centres and strategic partnerships with key stakeholders. All these will contribute directly towards the effective implementation of the TPD in all the 290 sub-counties in Kenya.
Moreover, MKU’s School of Education has vast experience in providing professional development.
To facilitate upgrading of competences and skills by primary and secondary school teachers, the school started offering TPD through the school-based programmes in 2009.
The programme was rebranded to, “Distance Institution-Based and Electronic Learning” (DIBeL) in 2018. It is a blended mode of study.
To date, the school has graduated over 35,000 teachers from the 17 programmes offered in the school. The programmes range from certificate in Teacher Education, Diploma in Teacher Education, Bachelor of Education, Master of Education and PhD.
The MKU VC reveals that the school has also launched ICT in Education course accredited by ICDL. The course offers knowledge and skills relating to the pedagogical use of ICT to support and enhance teaching, learning and assessment in the classroom.
For more information, visit https://www.mku.ac.ke/tpd/