War of words over ‘D’ grade cut off for college entry

Kenya National Qualification Authority Chairman Bonaventure Kerre and Principal Secretary State Department of Vocational Training Ministry of Education Dinah Mwinzi during re-branding of TVETA on June 29, 2016. [File, Standard]
The controversy over the minimum D grade entry mark for certificate courses has escalated with a government agency rubbishing claims by the teachers’ employer that the move will produce weak teachers.

In a blow-by-blow statement, the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) poked holes into arguments raised by Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

Authority chairman Bonaventure Kerre accused TSC of misleading the public by stating that lowering the collegeentry mark will affect quality of teachers. Prof Kerre said that the gazzetted minimum entry grade for certificate courses should be maintained.

“The quality of a teacher is determined by many factors including the quality of the teacher training programmes, and the quality of the teacher trainer,” said Prof Kerre.

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KNQA has set C– as the minimum diploma entry gradeand D for certificate courses.

The new requirements are contained in KNQA Framework recommendations gazzetted on June 2018. KNQA is the only agency mandated to set minimum entry grades for training institutions.

Kerre said the country can not kill teacher training programmes just because we have enough teachers many of whom cannot secure employment.

Last week, parents and teachers unions rejected the new requirements saying quality of teaching will be affected.

Kerre also dismissed the argument fronted by TSC that there are many teachers already trained and lowering the grade will flood the market with trained teachers.

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“The argument that we have enough teachers in the country is ironical since Kenya trains teachers for the region and we have Kenyan teachers in Rwanda, Uganda South Sudan and many other countries,” he said. While rejecting the proposals, TSC hit out at KNQA saying there are already some 290,000 trained teachers who are yet to be employed.

“This huge number of unemployed number cannot an indication of lack of interest in the profession. It clearly demonstrates that the country has surplus trained teachers,” said TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia.

In her letter, Mrs Macharia said lowering entry grades for teachers training is advisable where there is a sustained lack of interest in the profession like in Zimbabwe.

TSC also cited an attempt to flood the teaching market with substandard professionals who cannot improve education standards.

“The commission takes the view that your proposal to lower the qualifications of persons to train as teachers has the potential of over flooding the job market with low grade persons trained as teachers,” said Macharia.

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Kerre said: “There is no training for P1 teachers which has been phased out. To talk about teachers being admitted using mean grade of D is misleading, unwarranted and calculated to whip up wrong public emotions,” said Prof Kerre.

This comes as a meeting called by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed to engage TSC and the Authority was postponed.

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Teachers Service CommissionTSCD grade D grade