Kenya: Ministry to raise entry requirements for teachers under new curriculum

Teachers and parents celebrate at Hill School Primary in Eldoret after Avula Juliet Musimbi scored 431 marks in this year’s KCPE exams. Expectations will be high for teachers under the new curriculum. [PHOTO: KEVIN TUNOI/STANDARD]

The minimum entry requirement for teachers will be raised and their mastery of content emphasised under the new education curriculum reforms.

Details of the proposed “new teacher” reveal that demonstration of the right attitude and ability to mentor fellow teachers and learners will be among the key requirements.

A draft Framework for Teacher Education seen by The Standard proposes that persons seeking to teach in primary schools must hold a minimum grade of C-plus.

The entry grade for nursery school teachers training will be C while those wishing to teach in secondary schools will require a mean grade of B-minus.

Among the teaching standards emphasised for the teachers is a thorough understanding of the competency-based curriculum and how to implement it.

Teachers will also be required to know their learners and how they learn.

"Teachers must know the subject matter and how to teach it. They must also know how to create and support inclusive learning," reads the document.

It affirms that teachers will be required to use assessment for learning and as a guide to teaching and learning.

The proposals in the document prepared by Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) are based on a study it carried out in October 2016.

Anticipated Sample

The purpose of the study was to investigate the need for curriculum reform in teacher education in Kenya.

A total of 6,216 persons participated in the study out of an anticipated sample of 10,415, and a target population of 101,750.

Participants included student teachers, teachers, lecturers, head teachers, principals and key leaders in all levels of education, as well as other stakeholders from all over the country.

The document also includes the findings of Needs Assessment Research on Curriculum Reform in Kenya that was done in March 2016.

The document proposes that while in training school, teachers should be taught security and risk management, good governance, morality, guidance and counselling, family education and financial literacy.

They will also be taught health and hygiene, animal welfare education, conflict resolution and community service learning.

"Teacher education curricula need to be reformed to include a wider range of pertinent and contemporary issues and to use more effective strategies," reads the document.

It reveals that the current teacher education curriculum for nursery, primary, secondary, special needs and technical education was last reviewed more than 10 years ago and underscores the need for reforms in light of the new Constitution.

"Foundations for all teacher education curricula should be guided by national goals of education, national objectives of teacher education, international perspectives, nature of education of the levels to be taught and Basic Education Curriculum Framework," reads the November 2016 document.

Among the key recommendations is the need to upgrade the entry into all teaching levels and standardise the training period.

Under the proposed changes, the minimum training level for teachers will be diploma. This means certificate holders will not be able to teach in Kenya.

"Teacher education training for nursery, primary training and diploma secondary training to take place at Diploma College lasting two years," reads a suggestion from the framework.

It also proposes that there shall be two sessions of teaching practice – at the end of first year and at the end of the second.

Lecturers, teachers and principals in the schools will supervise all practical sessions.

"Assessment... ought to be done by specialists from college but also by specially trained teachers in schools."

The document recommends professionally conceptualised teaching practice lasting two school terms, with principals and co-operating teachers as key players.

The document proposes that the most preferred modes of assessing student teachers are continuous assessment tests (CATs), projects and summative exams, in that order.