No more new schools, CS Amina Mohamed says amid teacher shortage

Agnes Njeri takes a selfie as Teachers Service Commission (TSC) staff march to mark the TSC's 50th Anniversary celebrations along Nairobi 's Streets. The event was presided over by the CS for Education Amina Mohamed. [Elvis ogina, Standard]
No more new schools will be registered until more teachers are hired, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has said.

The move, the CS said, will manage the current shortage of teachers across public schools in the country.

Currently, there are about 30,000 public schools, 23,000 of them primary level. All these institutions share 312,060 teachers employed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

This is even as TSC chair Lydia Nzomo acknowledged that there were more than 700,000 trained teachers in the country. Amina said as it stands, institutions need to learn how to share resources. “The government has attached a lot of importance to the teaching profession. That is why 25 per cent of the national budget is allocated to education and a significant portion is directly utilised by the commission,” said Amina.

She said the government has always provided funds which has enabled employment of 30,000 teachers over the last five years.

“We are now looking into registration of schoolsthat takes into consideration availability of teachers,” Amina said during celebrations to mark 50 years of TSC at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) yesterday.

During the Kenya Primary School Heads Association Conference in February, TSC boss Nancy Macharia said there is a shortage of 40,792 teachers in primary and 63,849 in secondary schools.

She asked Treasury to provide Sh16 billion to enable the commission employ 68,000 intern teachers to address the shortage temporarily.

The shortage, she said then, was occasioned by opening of new schools following the government directive to ensure 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary.

Yesterday, Macharia said the situation on teacher welfare is bound to change with the implementation of the 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Nzomo said the CBA has helped ensure teachers’ issues are dealt with through dialogues without strikes.

“Teachers are critical to the realisation of the Big Four Agenda. We need teachers to train doctors, engineers and lawyers. That is how important they are,” said Nzomo.

The celebration was also attended by union leaders who also used the platform to agitate for employment of more teachers and a more expansive insurance cover.  

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