Kenyatta University

The entrance to Kenyatta University. TSC has proposed the scrapping of the Bachelor of Education degree course, which is popular at the university.

| File | Nation Media Group

The end of teachers’ B.Ed degree course 

What you need to know:

  • Employer recommends three years of undergraduate studies and one for diploma.
  • Lecturers express opposition to the proposal, saying there is no research showing that the course is not effective.

The decades-old Bachelor of Education degree course (B.Ed), through which thousands of Kenyan students have trained to become teachers, will soon be no more.

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) wants Kenyan universities to scrap the B.Ed course as part of reforms intended to usher in the competency based curriculum (CBC). 

Students who wish to pursue a career in teaching will instead take regular arts or sciences degrees and a one-year post-graduate education diploma to qualify for registration as teachers.

The TSC says the proposal, contained in the “Framework on entry requirements in the Teaching Service,” is necessitated by the underway CBC reforms, which are based on the “21st century principles and practices” of teacher education.

TSC wants the proposal implemented beginning September this year.

The B.Ed degree has existed as the basic training course for teachers in Kenya since 1972.

Before its introduction, TSC would employ untrained teachers due to shortages at the time. They would then be required to pursue a post-graduate diploma in education to remain in the profession.

The proposal, prepared by the TSC Director of Quality Assurance and Standards (QAS) Dr Reuben Nthamburi, proposes that students pursue the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science courses for three years, followed by a one year post-graduate diploma in order to qualify for teaching in junior and senior secondary.

TSC has given the entry grade for the science and arts bachelors as a mean Grade of C+ and a minimum of B- in three teaching subjects.

“In order to professionalise the teaching service and improve the quality of education, the Commission needs to review entry grades to the teaching service and advice the national government. This will raise the standards of the teaching profession and attract more quality grades,” reads the report.

Post-graduate diploma

Dr Nthamburi says those whose training is in subjects that are not in the curriculum, irrespective of a post-graduate diploma in education, will not qualify for registration and employment.

The proposal is already facing resistance from university education lecturers and the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu), who have termed it as unnecessary and unfounded.

University lecturers yesterday said they received the framework with shock and are currently analysing the document before authoring a counter-report based on research.

While addressing the media yesterday, Kenyatta University Uasu officials said the framework is in bad taste, as it risks rendering entire education departments in universities redundant. Dr Wilfridah Itolondo, a senior education lecturer at the university, said the framework is going to cause confusion in the universities.

“We feel the TSC framework is not acceptable as it is going to water down our education system, teachers require specialised training right from the start, ” she said. She added that universities are currently working to align their education programmes to CBC.

Another education lecturer at the university, Dr Makori Obonyo, said any changes to a degree programme have to be based on scientific research, and there is none that has been done to show that the B.Ed degree is not effective.

“You cannot compare the training of teachers with other fields; a teacher requires pedagogical skills right from the basic level,” said Dr Obonyo.

Kenyatta University Uasu chairman Dr Peter Lemoosa said the lecturers are a key stakeholder in university education and they ought to be involved in any proposed reforms.

The lecturers revealed that the TSC began pushing for the framework to be adopted by universities in 2018, but it was shelved.

When contacted for comment, the Public Universities Vice Chancellors Committee chair, Prof Geoffrey Muluvi, yesterday said vice chancellors are yet to discuss the TSC framework.

Teachers' training programmes

“I have not seen the framework,” said Prof Muluvi.

University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, Stephen Kiama, also said the university has not received the framework from the TSC.

“Any proposal must come through the university Senate, which upon discussion, proposes change of programmes,” said Prof Kiama.

However, TSC yesterday owned the document and said they presented it to deans of education from various universities in a webinar early this year.

The proposals have also been presented to the CBC task force on college and university education.

The interim chair of the Deans of Education for Universities, Dr Ciriara Gitonga, yesterday said deans from 56 universities that offer B.Ed are analysing the TSC proposal and will give a joint report.

“We acknowledge that universities must do something because of the CBC reforms in the country, we shall meet and make a joint report to TSC,” said Dr Gitonga.

The Nation yesterday learnt that the deans will meet on June 2 to discuss the proposal.

The Commission for University Education (CUE) Chief Executive, Mwenda Ntarangwi, did not respond to calls and SMS queries sent to his mobile phone. The CUE is in charge of accrediting university programmes.

Already, teacher training colleges have scrapped the certificate teacher training programmes and have introduced a diploma in education that will take three years. The first diploma in education class began this month.


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