Teachers Service Commission (TSC) yesterday said it would not lower the qualification grades for candidates seeking teaching courses for primary and secondary schools despite mounting criticism.
TSC said teachers who did not attain a mean grade C+ in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam will not teach in secondary schools even if they had attained a degree later.
Meanwhile, all secondary school teachers would only be allowed to teach subjects for which they scored a C+ and above in KCSE.
This is also the same with primary school teachers who would only be allowed to teach subjects they scored a C plain in their KCSE exam. TSC said this would improve the quality of education in Kenya
Addressing teachers in Mombasa, TSC Deputy Director of Staffing Antonia Lentoijoni said although the qualification requirements were not popular with teachers, they would improve standards.
In protest of the directives, several headteachers walked out of the conference when Lentoijoni insisted TSC would not negotiate on the requirements.
She said the bar was raised by the Commission to improve the quality of education, following new challenges emerging in society.
“The Teachers Service Commission has raised the entry point of teaching in the country to have the right kind of people to offer quality education to our children,” said Lentoijoni.
The decision now locks out teachers who scored C- or C and have degrees from going to teach in secondary school, despite a suggestion by Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Collins Oyuu that teachers in primary school be allowed to teach Grade 7 and 8 in junior secondary school because several of them have masters degrees.
But the TSC insisted any teacher who wants to teach in secondary school must now have C+ and above, leaving those who got their degrees using diploma certificates in a dilemma.
Lentoijoni said teachers with the qualification that TSC had approved were the right kind of people who will ensure quality education to the children.
“These are the people with the ability to offer quality education for our children,” she said.
Lentoijoni said the commission trained 28,000 teachers in the last few years to address the shortage of teachers.
She said Kenyan children deserved quality education and that was why the bar had to be raised by the commission.
Letoijoni, who thanked the government for its continued response to the shortage of teachers in the country, however, expressed happiness that at least there was some relief on the shortage of teachers.
She said TSC had now embarked on a new system of recruitment of teachers by first engaging those who want to be teachers as interns who were assigned to experienced teachers for mentorship.
“We will lobby for more money to recruit more teachers,” she said.
Lentoijoni commended the teachers for showing commitment to their jobs and concurred with Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha that teachers are attending classes without being followed.
Addressing the same meeting, Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) Chief Executive David Njengere described the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) education system as the best for Kenyan children.
Dr Njengere poked holes on 8-4-4, saying many children were condemned as failures in life because of the examination-oriented system.
He said CBC favours every child whose talent will be developed without being subjected to examination.
Njengere said since the government had discovered the 8-4-4 system was locking more than 500,000 children out of proper nation-building, it had decided to use CBC, which is what is done in most developed countries now.
“You cannot have sustainable development in a country where others are being excluded from participating in the development of the country just because of they did not pass an examination,” he said.
Njengere said a big percentage of citizens who have been left out because of failing examinations has been the main problem because nobody gave them the opportunity to develop their talent.
“We want an education system favourable to every child,” he said.
Njengere advised teachers with learners who had transferred from other schools to liaise with the sub-county education director to ensure every child in grade 4, 5 and 6 is registered with Knec without fail.
“If there is a child who was not captured because of transfer you must send their results through director sub-county,” he said.