The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is seeking funds to recruit 75,000 teachers by 2025 to help ease the curriculum burden in both primary and secondary schools as well as plug existing staff shortage.
In addition the Commission plans to hire 36,000 intern teachers for both primary and secondary schools over the same period.
These are some of the proposals contained in the Education Sector Report: Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2022/2023 – 2024/2025 which was sent to parliament for consideration ahead of the 2022 budget allocation.
The Commission’s bold strategy seeks to enhance resource management, professional development, equity and access to quality teaching standards over the next three years.
The document shows that TSC is planning to employ 39,000 teachers in secondary schools between 2022 and 2025, if the National Treasury makes available requisite resources.
It reveals that the TSC has established 13 measurable action points that aim to steer successful delivery of its crucial programmes, including effective staffing of schools.
The Commission has received approximately sh15 billion additional budget in the 2022 – 2023 financial year.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani had allocated an additional Sh14.9 billion to the TSC, whose budget has risen to Sh296.6 billion from Sh281.7 billion in the new financial year.
TSC says it will use the funds to employ more teachers to ease the curriculum burden for teachers.
In a report, which was presented to the Committee on Education and Research of the National Assembly by the Parliamentary Budget Office, shows TSC has planned to use its increased allocation of Sh15 billion to employ 13,000 secondary school teachers and 9,000 interns to cope with exits and the expected increase in enrolment when junior secondary is rolled out in January 2023.
The Commission’s plea of sh. 2.5 billion for employing 5,000 teachers was also approved by the Parliament.
Staffing has been a perennial milestone around TSC’s neck with Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia revealing that the service has a deficit of 114,581 teachers across training colleges, special needs education, curriculum support and primary and secondary schools.
Dr. Macharia attributes the situation to insufficient funding and implementation of the 100 percent transition policy of learners from primary to secondary education.
“Due to budget constraints the government is employing 5,000 teachers every year which is a drop in the ocean,” said Macharia.
“This has put pressure on the existing teaching force which is not commensurate to the learners enrolment,” Macharia told heads of institutions in Kisumu in December 2021.
The high number of those who quit either retire, resign, or die, while others are dismissed over various disciplinary cases.
Dr. Macharia said Kakamega and Bungoma counties had the highest teacher shortages in the country.
In January this year TSC advertised 2,945 vacancies to replace teachers exiting service through natural attrition. In the advert 2,053 posts went to primary schools and 892 posts to secondary schools.
The Commission posted a total of 1,995 new intern teachers to schools in the same month. TSC extended internship contract for 4,005 serving intern teachers whose one year term ended in December 2021. TSC employs at least 6,000 intern teachers each year.
Also in January this year TSC launched virtual lessons to help address teacher shortage and provide learners with quality education.
However, it emerged that the ICT for schools plan requires the upscaling of internet connectivity. Many schools lack connectivity.
The programme will see teachers from well-staffed schools with better facilities virtually share their classes with other institutions.
TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia said the prolonged disruption of learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic brought to the fore the need to continuously empower teachers to respond to emerging trends and challenges.
During Covid 19, most schools were unable to access online lessons due to inadequate facilities and poor internet connectivity.
Macharia said the commission has now accelerated its online teaching and learning, citing the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project.
The programme is in piloting stage targetting 12 schools in 10 counties.
Under the pilot programme, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and English will be live streamed from the host schools.
During the two-month pilot phase, livestreaming will focus on sciences, mathematics and English lessons, delivered from two principal schools.
Alliance Girls High School and Machakos Boys, well-staffed institutions with better facilities, will have their teachers share lessons with students in satellite schools across the 10 counties.
The two national schools have been paired with the satellite schools drawn from Isiolo, Kilifi, Bomet, Taita Taveta, Makueni and Kisii.
Macharia said the lessons will be interactive and collaborative through video and sound and learners will have a whole learning experience.
The programme targets Form Two students. Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli termed the project a game changer.
“It provides an opportunity to share knowledge, equipment and apparatus. It is a shared opportunity in learning and teaching approaches,” said Indimuli.
He, however, said schools will require high speed internet connectivity. But even as TSC launched the online lessons programme, teachers unions maintained quality teaching also requires proper staffing.
“Counties are not the same. Schools are not the same. We have gaps. Technology cannot replace teachers,” said Knut boss Collins Oyuu.