Release Sh5b to hire 10,000 teachers, MPs ask Treasury

A parent escorting her child to school for Form One admission waits to board a matatu in Meru last week. [Olivia Murithi, Standard]
Pressure is mounting on the National Treasury to release Sh5 billion to employ an additional 10,000 teachers to support increasing students enrolling in secondary schools.

Members of Parliament yesterday faulted the Treasury officials for failing to release the funds to the teachers’ employer as the Ministry of Education implements the 100 per cent transition to secondary education.

MPs also said the Sh2 billion released last year to the ministry to hire 2,000 trainers in technical training colleges has not been utilised.

National Assembly Education Committee Chairperson Julius Melly asked Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to act firm to restore sanity in the sector following a series of misteps.

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Retired trainers

“We have also learnt that some retired trainers are being recalled to teach in these training colleges instead of hiring youth who are well trained. We reject such moves and demand that the monies allocated be utilised,” said Melly.

On recruitment of primary and secondary school teachers, he said the money was approved last year and asked for speedy release of the funds to relieve the existing staff.

“Schools are flooded with many students because of the 100 per cent transition and we are worried that quality of education would be affected,” said Melly.

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) already said the current 312,000 teachers are overstretched and called for an immediate recruitment of 57,000 additional ones to address the shortage.

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“Teachers are overloaded. We have a shortage and children are already in school. If we are to give quality education, we need teachers urgently,” said TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia.

She said the Commission needs an annual increase of 12,000 teachers to effectively manage the increasing number of learners in secondary schools.

“This is to ease the burden of teachers because children are already in class. Additional teachers should be hired annually to bridge the national deficit,” said Macharia.

Only 8,700 teachers were recruited last year, leaving an annual deficit of 3,300 teachers.

“We made a proposal to recruit 12,626 annually for four years since 2018 at a cost of Sh8.3 billion. We were lucky to receive funds for 8,700 this year,” said Macharia.

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Speaking at the launch of Form One selection process late last year, Macharia said the rise in enrollment of students to secondary schools in recent years has exposed the capacity of teachers.

A brief by the TSC reveals that a single streamed school with four classes (Form 1 to Form 4) requires nine teachers, including the school head.

“Any additional class will therefore, require two additional teachers,” the document reads.

Macharia pleaded with teachers to work within the available capacities.

“In the meantime, I urge all teachers to do all they can, be innovative to ensure we do not compromise standards of teaching and learning,” she said.

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Intimidation

She asked school heads to protect new students from intimidation by the continuing lot.

More than one million new students are expected to join secondary schools under the 100 per cent transition policy. 

Form One admissions are expected to end tomorrow.

“Clearly, this is an enormous number. I wish to ask teachers to do all they can to ensure they are more innovative to guarantee high quality of learning,” said Macharia.

The government rolled out free day secondary education this year, pushing enrollment figures up by some 200,000.

The number is projected to go up as more students are expected to gain admission.

The 2018 KCPE candidates are the second group of students to be admitted to secondary schools under the government policy of 100 per cent transition under President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The key objective of the 100 per cent transition policy is to ensure improved access, retention and completion of secondary school education by all learners.

“In line with the President’s directive for full transition, the Ministry will place 1,032,334 candidates in secondary schools,” said Amina.

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