Why teacher trainee failures needs to handled urgently
Shocking resultsThis is why analysis showing that nearly half of teachers who take Primary Teacher Education (PTE) training courses in Kenya fail their final examinations is shocking. It is shocking because these are the very teachers we expect to guide our young ones, especially at the foundation stages. The most recent data from the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) shows that for the past three years, 29,595 of 73,032 (41 per cent) teacher trainees failed. During this period, only 29 teachers passed with distinction. This year alone, 10,723 of the 29,994 P1 trainee teachers who sat the examinations in public and private colleges failed. 10,457 of them have been given a referral, which means that next year they will resit one or more subjects.
SEE ALSO :Actis to build Sh11 billion warehousesAccording to Knec data, in the 2018 PTE examination, only 21 teachers passed with distinction while the majority – 12,388 – managed a credit. Some 5,581 had a pass. In the 2017 PTE examination, 12,749 of the 24,946 trainee teachers who sat the examinations failed. Only five teachers got a distinction while 8,773 managed a credit and 2,570 a pass. This situation is worrying. This is because research shows that a teacher’s subject matter knowledge is closely associated with student learning. In this era of high standards and expectations, having a highly qualified teacher has never been more important. It is worrying because even as the number of failures has been swelling over the past five years, the number of applicants to teacher colleges have been declining, leading the Ministry of Education to propose lowering the entry grade to D+. Arguments and counter-arguments aside, having competent teachers in class is very important for any country. For one, well-trained and qualified teachers, especially at the basic level, are central in the learning process.
Master subjectsSecondly, teachers are required to not only master their subjects but also develop strong teaching skills. For this to happen, the training of teachers must be of high quality. Teachers can then turn the knowledge they acquire into practical skills and pass them on to their students. This is why the best-trained teachers are allocated to children in the early grades, where they can have the biggest impact on the weakest students. This is because reaching children at this young age can prevent them from dropping out before they have even learnt to read or write; it brings huge benefits to their learning potential later in life. Thirdly, as we continue empowering and giving more authority to schools to do even more, they need a stronger and more focused teaching force. Prof Mogambi teaches at the University of Nairobi: hmogambi @ yahoo.co.uk