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Government to hire interns as teacher shortage bites

Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu

The government will employ intern teachers to address the shortage occasioned by the increased student enrolment.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha yesterday said teachers have been overwhelmed following the government’s  introduction of 100 per cent transition policy.

He spoke during the 44th Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) annual  conference in Mombasa, yesterday.

Magoha assured the more than 7,000 school heads that funds to employ the intern teachers had been factored in the 2019/20 financial year budget.

He, however, did not divulge details on how much had been allocated for the purpose.

“I get orders from only one person. One of such orders is to ensure there is money to employ intern teachers…that money is going to be available through the Teachers Service Commission,” said Magoha.

Strained facilities

In April, TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia said the commission was seeking funds to recruit 36,804 teachers to ensure smooth 100 per cent transition to secondary schools.

She said 12,626 teachers are needed annually to plug the deficit occasioned by the overwhelming enrolment, which has also starined school facilities.

Close to a million learners who sat KCPE exam last year joined Form One this year under the 100 per cent transition policy,  part of a global campaign to give all children access to 12 years of learning.

Magoha promised to work  closely with TSC to monitor the managent of funds earmarked for hiring intern teachers.

On the Competency-Based Curriculum, the CS said there would be no going back to the old system. He urged those opposing it to “jump on board.”

“I am happy that Kessha, Kuppet, the Catholic Church and many other critical stakeholders have all supported the new curriculum.  My plea to the others is ‘please come on board’. I have my orders from my employer which I will defend,” said Magoha, in reference to Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), which has been protesting the roll-out of the new syllabus.

“I have been to several schools on the ground and I can tell you that this curriculum is working well,” he said.

The CS read a riot act to teachers who he said have turned activists, saying they have no business being in class.

“A teacher is not an activist. Any teacher who has become an activist should resign from the noble profession of teaching because when you are a teacher you look at issues and think openly,” he said.

While insisting he would continue operating with unswerving firmness, Magoha said all education stakeholders must move together to better education.

Additional funding

“As you criticise us, give us solutions. People say I am proud. Yes, I am because if you are not proud of yourself who else is going to be proud for you? Even you, as teachers, you should be proud of yourselves.”

On the question of increased capitation in schools, the CS advised the principals to seek alternative solutions. He said his ministry was already taking up 35 per cent of the national budget, and it would be difficult to ask for additional funding.

He urged schools to engage parents willing to assist, saying it was important that Parents, Teachers Associations be empowered to contribute towards school infrastructure development, as long as no one was forced to pay.

Kessha chair Indimuli Kahi said unveiling of the new curriculum design is necessary for secondary teachers to prepare adequately.

  

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