EDUCATION CRISIS - STOPGAP

Wajir staff trained as teachers to teach as non-locals flee

Teacher shortage plagues the Northeast as non-local teachers flee, citing fear of terrorism

In Summary

• Unprecedented move follows the recall by the TSC of more than 900 non-local teachers, both primary and secondary. They said they fear terror attacks.

• In February 10 memo, Governor Abdi asked county employees who had previously worked as teachers to return to the classroom as a stopgap measure.

 

Wajir county secretary Abdullahi Mohamed at a function in Wajir town on Wednesday, February 12. .
TEACHERS CRISIS: Wajir county secretary Abdullahi Mohamed at a function in Wajir town on Wednesday, February 12. .
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Wajir county staff with teaching backgrounds have been directed to return to the classroom to teach.

Retired teachers too have een asked to help.

The call follows the decision by the Teachers Service Commission to recall more than 900 non-local teachers who say they fear terrorist attacks.  Non-local teachers have been targeted by al-Shabaab.

In a memo on February 10 to staff who have served as teachers, county secretary Abdullahi Mohamed asked them to transfer their services to the classroom. It was copied to Governor Mohamed Abdi, 

Imagine a school that had 30 teachers and 1,000 learners now has a skeletal staff of six tutors. Some have only three local teachers. In some cases, only the local headteacher has been left. 
Abdullahi Mohamed, county secretary 

“You are required to urgently submit data on those with an educational background. Mahat Dore, the deputy county secretary, will follow up with you and you are required to cooperate with him,” the memo said.

Abdullahi, who is himself a teacher by profession, told the staff that this was a stop-gap measure until a durable solution can be found.

He spoke on the sidelines of a meeting in Wajir town on Wednesday.

“Imagine a school which used to have 30 teachers with a population of 1,000 learners now has a skeletal staff of six tutors. Some have only three local teachers. In some cases, only the headteacher, a local, has been left to staff the institution,” he said.

He said the county plans to recruit secondary school graduates who scored C grade and above in the KCSE exam to teach on a contract basis.

They will receive a monthly stipend  — the amount yet to be decided — to be drawn from the county government, CDF and county ward funds.

In an interview with the BBC Somali Service Governor Mohamed Abdi criticised the TSC's withdrawal of teachers and said the county cannot just sit down and watch children go without an education.

“I understand the pain and the frustration our people are going through because of the education crisis in the region. It is not unfair and irresponsible of the Government of Kenya to allow the TSC and the Ministry of Education to play around with the emotions of our people and future of the new generation,” Abdi said.

He added, “We have to go out of our way ensure we help to educate our children. even if it means going against the law. The bottom line is the children, just like those from other parts of the country, deserve an education, which is their right and not negotiable,” he said.

Abdi said on Sunday the region's leadership will sue the TSC for transferring all non-local teachers from the region. He said insecurity and the perennial teachers crisis that undermines education will form part of the region’s recommendations to the BBI team in Garissa on February 24.

(Edited by V. Graham)