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The new qualification requirements for admission into teacher training colleges have locked out thousands of Form Four leavers, the Nation has established.
The new requirements set by the Ministry of Education are likely to deal a huge blow to the implementation of the competency-based curriculum (CBC) as only a few applicants are eligible for enrolment.
Thousands of applicants who had applied for diploma training in primary and early childhood development education did not meet the grade set last month while those who qualified will hardly fill the vacancies available in both public and private TTCs.
To qualify, one must have a mean Grade of C (plain) in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam, a C in mathematics, English, Kiswahili, one science and one humanity to align pre-service teacher training to the demands of CBC.
As a result, the certificate in teacher education, commonly referred to as P1 will be phased out, with the last cohort having graduated in December last year. The trainees are scheduled to report on May 3 in the 32 public colleges and the course will take three years.
There are over 200 registered private teacher training colleges, according to the Kenya Economic Survey.
However, checks by the Nation in the counties paint a grim picture, validating fears raised by stakeholders earlier that the bar had been set too high. Sub-county directors of education, who were managing the recruitment, had been given up to Friday last week to file their returns.
Calls for review
In some sub-counties, none of the applicants who showed interest qualified, with some stakeholders calling for a review of the criteria.
Only three applicants in Lamu County qualified. The County Director of Education Joshua Kaaga said one was from Lamu East, two from Lamu West and none from Lamu Central.
It was the same case in Tindiret sub-county, which had 53 applicants but none met the criteria. Turkana South and Turkana East did not register any candidates. In Tiaty West, all the 20 people who submitted their applications in Chemolingot failed to qualify.
“It was a big challenge for us to get qualified applicants in Lamu. All the three are males,” said Mr Kaaga.
No qualified applicants
By Friday evening, some sub-counties in Kilifi County did not have a single qualified applicant. In one sub-county, all the 45 were unqualified. A majority had low grades in the cluster subjects despite having the required mean Grade of C (plain).
In Kwale, the county director of education, Mr Martin Cheruiyot, said only 30 applicants were successful. Kwale has a new TTC that will start training in May, with a capacity of 200.
“We compiled the names and forwarded them to the ministry even though the number was too low. You may find that a student had good grades in all other subjects but had a C- (minus) in mathematics. This disqualified them,” he said.
He also cited the slow absorption of trained teachers into employment as one of the reasons most people shied away, opting for technical courses.
“The backlog in absorbing earlier trained teachers could be a reason some people do not want to enrol. They have seen how other graduates are tired of waiting for up to five years to get employed,” said Mr Cheruiyot.
In Nandi County, only 25 out of 388 applicants met the qualifications. In Nandi Central, only three (one male, two females) out of 80 were qualified.
In Nandi East, eight qualified while in Nandi North, five out of 82 were successful. In Nandi South, only six out of 57 qualified while in Chesumei, three out of 53 met the criteria.
In Turkana County, nine applicants were successful. Kibish, Turkana West, Turkana North and Turkana Central had one applicant each — all male. In Loima Sub-County, five were picked.
The county director of education, Mr Peter Magiri, said the new requirements locked out many potential teachers.
Bungoma County Director of Education Philip Chirchir said only 24 applicants were successful, citing low grades in mathematics and science as the main challenge.
In Uasin Gishu, County Director of Education Gitonga Mbaka said by Thursday, only 16 applicants had qualified.
“The turnout was good but very few qualified due to strict minimum academic qualifications requirement for mathematics and sciences. On Tuesday, there was no single female candidate who qualified from Turbo Sub-County,” Mr Mbaka told the Nation.
In Baringo, the county’s director of education, Mr Mwasaru Mwashegwa, said only 19 applicants met the set standards.
“We do not have the number of the total applicants because only those who qualified were required to fill the forms. In the entire region, only 19 met the requirements,” said Mr Mwashegwa.
In Mogotio Sub-County, out of the 100 who had applied, only three were successful.
Makueni County had 81 qualified applicants.
The principal of Kibwezi TTC, Joyce Nzivo, said the low enrolment will stifle teacher training colleges.
“The high grades will deny many youths the training opportunities,” she said.
In Western region, only 67 people qualified in all the four counties, while in Migori County, there was a remarkably low turnout with only 18 of the 204 applicants being successful. It was worse in the ECDE category, which had only six applicants.
Homa Bay County Kenya National Union of Teachers Executive Secretary Patrick Were said there should be a review of the qualifications.
“Why must the government introduce requirements which are unnecessary for teaching? Students should have a C plain in either English or Kiswahili, not in both subjects,” said Mr Were.
31,737: Enrolment of in TTCs in 2019
11,111: Enrolment of P1 teachers in 2019 in public TTCs and 18,589 in private colleges
2,037: Diploma teacher trainees in 2019
Reporting by David Muchunguh, Kalume Kazungu, Maureen Ongala, SIAGO CECE, Tom Matoke, Sammy Lutta, Barnabas Bii, Brian Ojamaa, Stanley Kimuge, Flora Koech, Oscar Kakai, Benson Amadala, Derrick Luvega, Ian Byron, George Odiwuor