TSC fetes tutors for doing good job in last year’s national exams

TSC Chairperson Jamleck Muturi (left) and CEO TSC Nancy Macharia awarding the winner of the 2019 Global Teacher Prize Peter Tabichi (centre) of Keriko Day Secondary School during the celebration of the annual International Day for Teachers at KICD in Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

?Teachers whose schools posted top grades in last year’s national examinations have been rewarded as the country marked the World Teacher’s Day yesterday.

Tutors who have put Kenya on the map were also rewarded as the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) rolled out the red carpet for top achievers.

Even though the TSC did not give full details of the teachers, an analysis of the merit list reveals that the tutors run primary and secondary schools that produced top results nationally in last year’s examinations.

The commission recognised 31 teachers, among them Peter Tabichi of Keriko Mixed Secondary School, who was the 2019 winner of the Global Teacher Prize.

Eric Ademba of Asumbi Girls’ School, who won the African Union Continental Teacher of the Year award in 2019, and Jane Kimiti of Othaya Girls’ Secondary, who won the African Union Continental Teacher of the Year award last year were also rewarded.

The top five performers in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations were also feted.

Kapsabet Boys’ principal Kipchumba Maiyo was the first to be rewarded after his school topped in last year’s KCSE exam. The school posted a mean score of 10.51, producing 65 As, 133 A– and 99 B+.

Kenya High principal Florah Mulatya was also rewarded. The school was number two nationally after posting a mean score of 10.30, with 53 As, 102 A– and 75 B+.

TSC also rewarded Mang’u High head teacher John Munyua, whose school was third with a mean score of 10.28. It produced 42 As, 134 A- and 106 B+.

William Mwangi of Alliance High was also rewarded. Alliance, which had the highest number of As, ranked fourth nationally. The school produced 77 As, 128 A- and 85 B.

Mary Hill Girls’ Principal Jacinter Waweru closed the top five secondary school heads rewarded by TSC.

The teachers’ employer also rewarded five primary school head teachers, revealing the confidential merit list of top schools in last year’s KCPE.

During the release of KCPE exams results, the details of tops schools were not revealed.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said Mumo Faith Kawee of Kari-Mwailu Primary School in Kibwezi, Makueni County, emerged top with 433 marks.

Wesonga Yvette Nanzala of Chogoria Girls and Muriithi Angel Gakenia of Maseno Girls’ Boarding School tied at position two with 432 marks.

They were followed by Wanyonyi Samuel Makhanu of Nzoia Sugar Company Primary School, who scored 431 marks.

The commission’s Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia yesterday recognised Stephen Nzyoka of Utafiti Primary School in Makueni County, who received the best primary schools award.

Kathigiri Boarding School head teacher Josleen Karimi Mugambi was the second to be feted, followed by St Peters Mumias School head teacher Anne Onyancha, and Charles Kurgat of Tenwek Boarding School.

Isaac Magut of St Mathews Septonok Primary School and Jerotich Gertrude of Nandi Hills Primary School closed the merit list of top primary schools nationally.

Special needs education

The heads of top special needs education schools were also recognised. The list comprised Catherine Karanga (Thika High School for the Visually Impaired), Aggrey Warialo (Nalando Primary School for the Physically Impaired), Asli Muhamed (Wajir Special School) and Margaret Njuguna (Thika Primary School for the Visually Impaired).

Schools that produced top students in last year’s national examinations were also appreciated. They were Murang’a High, Kenya High, Nzoia Sugar Primary and Kari Mwailu Primary.

TSC also rewarded the heads of most improved schools. They included Lucas Okello (Igorera Secondary), Jason Onyango (Ndonyo Secondary), Adow Salat (Rhamu Day Secondary) and Rosebella Munzala (St Joseph Girls Kitale).

Under most improved primary schools, TSC rewarded Edward Fondo (Mnamwenga Primary), Julius Munguti (Kwa Mulungu Primary), Abdikadir Isaack Sheik (Banisa Primary), Welly Hassan (Elan Primary) and Abdi Abey Abdulahi (Malaba Primary).

Macharia said the commission will recommend some of the teachers for recognition at various levels in line with government policy. 

“We are not in any way suggesting that the 31 teachers are the only remarkable teachers we have in the practice. We will keep finding more ways to ensure all our teachers feel recognised and appreciated for their work,” she said.

The theme for this year’s World Teacher’s Day is “Teachers at the heart of education recovery.” In Kenya, the celebrations took place at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

Globally, the international celebrations were opened by Unesco Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

Other speakers were Henrietta Fore of Unicef, Guy Ryder of the International Labour Organization, and David Edwards of Education International (EI).

In a joint statement, the officials said: “On World Teachers’ Day, we are not only celebrating every teacher. We are calling on countries to invest in them and prioritise them in global education recovery efforts so that every learner has access to a qualified and supported teacher. Let’s stand with our teachers.”

But even as the TSC led Kenyans in celebrating the teachers, questions have emerged whether the ordinary Kenyan teacher is happy.

One-and-a-half years into the Covid-19 pandemic, teachers have been at the centre of plans to recover lost time. This has resulted in pressure due to a revised learning programme.

Adherence to Covid-19 protocols and keeping children safe at school are responsibilities placed on the shoulders of teachers as countries work to contain the virus.

The demands of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) have also thrust teachers at the centre of new reforms that come with heightened expectations.

Part of these include continuous refresher training, adjusting to new teaching ways that put the learner at the centre of learning, and an assessment plan that puts them at the centre of children’s progression.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers National Chairman Omboko Milemba said the teachers were unhappy.

“As we celebrate, we shall be looking up to the employer to bring good news to make teachers smile even for a short while,” said Mr Milemba.

Non-monetary CBA

The union boss said Covid-19 had killed many teachers, especially heads and deputies. “And again, because of the pandemic, we have been forced to sign a non-monetary CBA.”

Milemba said the move towards 100 per cent transition had also expanded classrooms yet the government had not employed extra teachers. “And many teachers have stagnated in some job groups without proper promotions,” he added.

On the issue of teachers’ professional development (TPD), Milemba said teachers were not happy to pay for training. “We plead with MPs to approve budget to allow government pay for the teachers. The benefits of teaching are to all, and they are not allowed to do private practice as other professionals do.” Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Collins Oyuu said the union would continue to advocate for teachers, even in hard times.

“We cannot leave teachers alone. For example, our concerns on TPD are on age brackets for module coverage and the payments for the same,” said Mr Oyuu.

“If we signed a CBA without a monetary component, we must also advocate they do not pay. We must balance to cushion teachers, and this is a solution-driven movement.”

Multiple interviews with teachers in public schools reveal depressed employees who are feeling the pressure to improve performance even as their salaries will remain unchanged for the next four years.

“The fact that unions agreed to sign a non-monetary collective bargaining agreement has been a major setback for teachers countrywide,” said a primary school teacher in Nairobi. “It is depressing to expect too much from teachers yet their welfare is put on the back-burner.”

Other teachers said their self-esteem had been dented by criticism on their competence, and the insinuation that they were not well trained to handle CBC classes without undergoing fresh training.

“Everywhere we walk we carry the banner of less prepared, less trained and incompetent teacher because everyone says so. This has to change,” said a teacher. Others who spoke cited transfers and a delocalisation strategy that has seen some of them separated from their families.

“Some teachers have sunk into depression and their families grown weary, yet the work environment is not conducive for effective service delivery,” said a teacher.

Some secondary school tutors said that promotions have not favoured those in Job Group C3, who form 60 per cent of the teacher population.

They argued that teachers have stagnated in this job group for over 20 years. And in cases where some were promoted to senior teachers, it only attracted a salary increment of Sh2,000.

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