With only a year to the phasing out of 8-4-4 system in primary schools, eight out of 10 teachers are yet to acquire the requisite qualifications for teaching the competency-based curriculum (CBC).
According to the Economic Survey 2021 released last week, 178,024 teachers or 81.6 per cent held the P1 certificate by the end of last year yet they require a diploma to effectively implement the new curriculum.
And although the Education ministry has been offering short courses for select teachers to help jumpstart CBC, now in Grade 5, this does not replace the diploma requirement and they still need to go back to school.
They will need to upgrade their qualifications through a one-year in-service programme at Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs)
“The school-based upgrading programme to benefit teachers in service will be available once the school calendar normalises (from 2023),” Basic Education Principal Secretary Julius Jwan said while announcing the programme in July.
The economic survey revelations come amid national outrage on implementation for CBC, with parents raising concerns over mountains of homework for their children.
While many have questioned the rationale of the heavy workload and endless lists of learning materials, some have gone to the extent of questioning the competence of teachers implementing CBC.
“I have heard your cries of parents, guardians and teachers. The petition challenging CBC will be filed in Court next week. The education system in Kenya should not be an expensive, inefficient and ineffective experiment with our children and their future as is our leadership,” Law Society of Kenya president Nelson Havi tweeted on September 8.
Last Friday, MPs asked the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to issue clear guidelines to teachers and parents on how pupil assignments should be handled.
At present, only teachers from pre-primary 1 up to Grade 5 are teaching the CBC but it will be taught by all teachers once the last 8-4-4 class exits in 2023.
By the end of 2020 when the P1 training was phased out, the country had 21,632 diploma holders only teaching in its 23,246 primary schools and 17,930 others with a bachelor’s degree. Some 491 others had post-graduate qualifications.
The race to retrain teachers comes at a time when efforts to raise the entry qualification grades for teacher trainees has resulted in low enrolment in teacher training colleges (TTCs).
The entry requirement for the diploma of primary education and the ECDE programmes is Grade C (plain) in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination or its equivalent as certified by the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec).
Read also: Parents rue burden of new curriculum
Candidates for the two diploma courses are also required to have a C plain in all the cluster subjects – English and Kiswahili, mathematics, any humanities and any science subject.
For candidates with disabilities, the minimum entry grade is C (minus), with a C (minus) in the cluster subjects.
After the ministry and TSC revised the entry grades, more than 30 government-owned TTCs and 37 private ones have been left without students as only a few qualified.
Only five public TTCs enrolled an average of 20 students, down from the more than 200 they used to recruit each year.
The five colleges that got students are Thogoto TTC, Machakos TTC, Igoji TTC, Baringo TTC and Migori TTC.
TSC and MoE have also started an upgrading programme for P1 holders who are unemployed to attain diploma qualification. The training will take place at the TCCs.
Meanwhile, the number of secondary school teachers has increased from 105,234 in 2019 to 13,155 in 2020.
“The number of female teachers recorded a higher increase of 9per cent compared to an increase of 6.5 per cent for male teachers. Female teachers accounted for 41.5 per cent of the total number of teachers,” the report reads.
Secondary school teachers with a bachelor’s degree qualification are the majority, 108,109, with only 3,310 holding a diploma certification. Those with post-graduate qualifications are 1,725.
However, unlike in primary schools, male teachers in secondary schools are the majority at 66,159 while females are 46,996.
There is an expected demand for secondary school teachers once CBC rolls out in the segment in January 2023.
TSC recently sent an advisory to the university on teacher training in new learning areas that current teachers are not skilled in.
Last month, the commission also reported that some subject combinations failed to attract any applicants during a recruitment exercise it carried out in July.