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GOVERNMENT AT FAULT

TSC blames State for strikes, low-quality education, failed projects

Sh3.4 billion allocated but TSC says it needs Sh11 billion over five years.

In Summary

• TSC faulted the national government’s education policies saying they are cause of teachers' strike,low-quality education, and failed projects.

• In its new strategic plan (2019 – 2023), TSC says the policy framework has caused occasioned low morale among teachers.

Teachers in Meru during the protests
Teachers in Meru during the protests

The Teachers Service Commission has sharply criticised the national government’s education policies, saying they are a cause of the frequent calls for teachers strikes, failed projects and low-quality education.

In its strategic plan (2019-2023), the teachers' employer says the policy framework has caused low morale among teachers, compromising the quality of education.

"The Strategic Plan is a deliberate measure to transform the teaching service while also amplifying the legal and statutory provisions in the execution of its mandate," TSC boss Lydia Nzomo said.

 
 

The report cites poor planning, lack of consultation and underfunding when coming up with policies.

The government has been keen on ensuring free primary education, 100 per cent transition to secondary schools and affordable secondary education.

But the TSC says the measures aiming to reform the sector have compromised the quality of education.

The new plan was developed after an audit of the 2014-2019 strategic plan, which found that the education sector was unstable because of low funding, weak laws, political interference, low teachers’ morale, industrial unrest, poor teacher-to-student ratio, and union agitation.

“Of particular concern is a shortage of staff at the county, sub-county and zonal levels. This adversely affects supervision of curriculum implementation and provision of support services to teachers,” the draft plan says.

TSC said it requires Sh11 billion over the next five years to initiate reforms, enhance service delivery and provide a world-class education system.

The commission is calling for more consultations among stakeholders, increased funding and recruitment of more teachers to enhance reforms, more investment in technology, better payment of teachers, enhanced supervision and capacity building.

The TSC also wants a "vibrant innovation platform", realignment of laws to support teachers’ promotion and grading, as well as building a strong structure that supports the high number of students and teachers.  

However, the national government says it can only provide Sh3.4 billion to the TSC for specific projects, which the union says it needs in the next five years.

Documents obtained by Star showed that the government this year provided Sh31 million for teacher competency, conduct, and performance and Sh662 million for service delivery reengineering.

A teacher speaks to pupils during a classroom session.
A teacher speaks to pupils during a classroom session.
Image: EUGENE OMILO

However, no monies were provided to fund reforms and innovation in the education sector.

The commission had requested Sh721 million for teacher competency, conduct, and performance, Sh866 million for reforms and innovation and Sh970 million for service delivery and reengineering.

The funds for reforms and innovations were meant to fund projects such as performance contracting, teacher performance appraisal and development, the roll-out of teachers' professional development policy framework and teacher' professional development framework.

The trade unions have already threatened nationwide teachers’ strikes, arguing the government was rushing to implement the projects without proper planning. 

“However, in the case of TSC, the recruitment has been largely constrained by the limited budgetary provisions from the national government,” the strategic plan states.

Others are Teacher Performance, Appraisal and Development instruments and review of the Code of Regulations and Conduct for teachers, which are meant to improve the country's education level into a world-class sector.  

“The TSC requires 500 new internal staff to effectively execute its mandate at counties. These reforms will address various approaches in curriculum implementation, guarantee equity and exclusivity in the management of the teacher resource,” the strategic plan said.

There was also a conflict of roles and mandate between the TSC and other stakeholders at the National Government Level. The commission agrees that there is a lack of inadequate enforcement capacity in public and private learning institutions.

As of June 2018, the TSC was responsible for 317,069 teachers deployed to 30,892 public educational institutions. 

These include 217,291 teachers serving in 22,263 public primary schools and 99,778 teachers serving in 8,629 public post-primary institutions. 

The learner population served by these teachers presently stands at eight million in public primary schools and two million in public post-primary schools.

Over five years, the government recruited 28,843 teachers. The primary schools benefited by 8,390 while 20,453 were recruited for secondary schools.

“It is a clear indication that the government funded the recruitment of approximately 5,000 teachers every year. We should hire heavily in order to sustain reforms, innovations and put our education on a competitive scale globally,” a Nairobi principal said.

Currently, the TSC estimates an overall teacher shortage of 96,345. This includes 38,054 in primary schools and 58,291 in post-primary schools.

The TSC warns that the projected shortages are expected to rise to 84,478 for secondary schools and 34,941 for primary schools by 2023.

“Widening of the pupil-teacher ratio leads to an inequitable distribution of teaching resources, general dissatisfaction, demotivation and, hence, industrial unrest,” the union said.

The strategic plan warned that issues raised must be addressed or else they will affect the implementation of the national curriculum that equips learners with values, attitudes, knowledge, skills and competencies, particularly in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The manner in which the country sources, develops, deploys, manages and supports teachers largely determines or influences the quality of education, hence, contributing to the national development agenda,” TSC said.

The commission attributed the teacher shortage to rapid growth in school enrolment attributable to the implementation of the Free Primary Education, Affordable Day Secondary School Education programs and the establishment of new schools.

The TSC said insufficient school infrastructure denied students good learning facilities and materials to realise their potential.

Decreased/inadequate funding for teacher recruitment and promotion has led to a widening of the pupil-teacher ratio leading to an inequitable distribution of teaching resource, general dissatisfaction, demotivation and, hence, industrial unrest.
TSC Strategic Plan

“The increase in enrolment in secondary schools occasioned by the objective of 100 per cent transition from primary schools has already led to the increased demand for teachers at the secondary school level,” the TSC said.

“The Competency-Based Education system rolled out has compounded the teacher shortage. The Board of Management employed only 80,000 teachers.”

The commission has also proposed teachers recruited on a contract basis, internship and in certain cases the sharing of teachers across schools for elective subjects as short-term measures to address the escalating crisis.

TSC further said the transfer policy was facing multiple challenges among them teachers' reluctance to serve in other counties, insecurity and political/stakeholder interference.

Others are an unwillingness of teachers to be separated from their families and medical considerations.

The rapid establishment of new schools constrained the distribution and utilisation of the teaching resource, thus affecting curriculum implementation. There was a shortage of teachers in specific subject combinations such as Humanities, Kiswahili, Physics and Computer Studies.

“Physics and Computer studies have been occasioned by the mobility of these teachers to the private sector,” the plan said.

“All this has constrained effective delivery of the curricula and consequently, has led to a poor performance by the students studying these subjects.”

Increased student enrolment overcrowded classrooms constraining effective and quality teaching and learning.  The evaluation, promotion and salary increment of teachers was not supported by current existing policy and legal framework for consistency.

“Teachers face limited opportunities for growth that lead to stagnation, a de-motivated teaching force and high turnover, which has created instability in the provision of teaching services,” the policy said.

Budgetary constraints failed to recognise teachers for exemplary performance, while the increased number of registered teachers led to the rise in indiscipline that calls for enhanced capacity.

The new plan aims to harmonise the system for managing and sharing of data, address teachers 'absence from work, boost the teachers' morale and create a framework for engaging development partners in resource mobilisation. It will also create a framework for talent identification, staff retention and succession management.


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