What you need to know:
- According to Teachers Service Commission (TSC), between 8,000 and 10,000 teachers exit the service annually.
- The persistent shortage is a major challenge, especially to the implementation of the new curriculum.
Like a leaking can that never fills, more teachers are exiting the service every year than the government can replace them.
This means the country’s dream to improve teacher-learner ration remains a mirage as staffing gaps in public schools persist.
While Unesco recommends 40:1 ration, some public schools in urban areas have one teacher attending to more than 100 children.
According to Teachers Service Commission (TSC), between 8,000 and 10,000 teachers exit the service annually yet the commission has over the last five years been allocated funds to employ only 5,000 per year.
This is way below the target of 12,626 teachers per year recommended in the TSC 2019-2023 Strategic Plan.
The persistent shortage is a major challenge, especially to the implementation of the competency-based curriculum (CBC) which requires small class sizes.
The first CBC cohort will exit primary in a year’s time yet secondary schools have the biggest teacher shortages.
The shortages have negatively impacted the 100 per cent transition policy since the increased enrolment in secondary schools has not been matched with adequate recruitment of teachers.
According to TSC, this has created a shortage of about 27,000 teachers in secondary schools.
“When you’re given 5,000 (teachers) only and you have a shortage of 100,000, you don’t even know how to distribute them in the country,” TSC CEO Nancy Macharia says.
Teachers’ medical scheme
The high number of those who quit either retire, resign or die while others are sacked for various disciplinary cases.
According to data from Minet Kenya which administers the teachers’ medical scheme, on average three teachers die daily.
That translates to about 1,095 deaths annually. Year 2020/2021 had the highest deaths at 1,430 while 2015/2016 had the lowest at 880 deaths.
In the last five years, 28,500 teachers have been employed against a target of 50,500. It is only in the 2018/2019 financial year that 8,500 teachers were employed.
The CEO said that Kakamega and Bungoma have the highest teacher shortages.
According to the 2022/2023 Budget Policy Statement, TSC has been allocated Sh296.6 billion— Sh14.9 billion more than its current allocation.
While appearing before the Education of the National Assembly, Ms Macharia said the commission requires Sh17 billion to optimally staff all public schools.
The commission has 339,000 teachers on its payroll while over 300,000 others are registered but unemployed.
To alleviate the biting shortage, TSC in 2019 introduced an internship programme where jobless teachers are engaged on contract and earn a stipend.
Teachers Pressure Group
Some 10,300 interns were hired in the first batch, 12,000 in the 2020/2021 financial year and 6,000 this year.
The programme has also become a gateway to future employment as TSC awards 30 per cent marks to teachers who have served as interns, giving them a clear headstart.
Ms Macharia denied claims that TSC has been cracking down on teachers affiliated to the Teachers Pressure Group, a lobby group that is opposed to the established teachers’ unions.
“Transfers are not part of the disciplinary process,” she said, adding that since July this year, the commission has transferred a total of 1,120 teachers. 436 of these are in post-primary institutions while the other 684 are primary school teachers.
“There’s an appeal structure and teachers are free to appeal. We’ve received only one appeal out of the 1,120.
Transfers and the disciplinary process are two distinct procedures,” Cavin Anyuor, the director for legal affairs.
Ms Macharia said that the commission has so far trained 229,392 primary school teachers on the competency-based curriculum at a cost of Sh3.4 billion.
Some 1,166 tutors in teachers’ colleges have also been trained.
The training for secondary school teachers will start next year ahead of CBC rollout in junior secondary school in 2023.