Western Kenya grapples with teachers shortage

Baraka Karama @PeopleDailyKe

Secondary and primary schools in western Kenya are grappling with shortage of teachers that is likely to affect the performance of national exams. The region’s school heads have urged the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to employ more teachers to serve the rising number of students.

The worst affected secondary schools are St Francis Rang’ala Girls, Lwak Girls High School, Kisumu Boys, Kisumu Girls, Nyakach and Onjiko Boys in Kisumu county.

Others are Bunyore Girls in Vihiga, Kakamega High School and Bungoma’s Lugulu Girls in Bungoma county. M M Shah, Arya, Kosawo, Manyatta, Magadi and Obinju are among the primary schools that are facing serious shortage in the region. Various principals who spoke to the People Daily admitted they had acute shortage of science teachers.

Rang’ala Girls principal Susan Owino said the institution with a population of 2,300 students has a deficit of 42 teachers. “We only have 40 teachers. It is practically impossible for 40 teachers to cater for such population.

That is likely to affect our performance in national exams,” he said. Hellen Akunja, the principal of Bunyore Girls, which has 1,580 students, said they had requested for more teachers from the TSC but they haven’t received any. “We only have 43 teachers and being a national school, we expect to have more as we survive with the ones we have,” she said.

The teachers said when the government rolled out the free day and subsidised boarding secondary education programme, it allocated money for hiring non-teaching staff and none for teachers. Again, the parents are only allowed to pay for uniform, lunch and boarding facilities. Thus, boards of management can’t source cash to hire teachers.

In June last year, TSC announced the recruitment of 5,000 new teachers across the country to address a shortage of 87,000 tutors. Chief executive Nancy Macharia said 2,205 teachers will be deployed in primary schools while 2,795 will be sent to secondary schools and tertiary institutions. But the school heads say the process of deploying the teachers is slow.

“We appreciate that they sent us one, but it is not enough. It may take time again for TSC to send us other teachers. We are also not allowed to employ because there is no money to pay them”. Marcelus Okweya, chairman of Kisumu Primary Schools Heads Association said: “The number of pupils is growing and the tutors are few. It’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed”.

Kenya Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Kisumu branch executive secretary Zablon Awange termed the shortage as a mess saying it may worsen especially with the implementation of new curriculum.

Research conducted by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) institute for statistics last year revealed that in sub Sahara Africa, the number of pupils enrolled in primary and secondary schools has risen by 66 and 123 per cent respectively since 1999.

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