The Government is recruiting 5,000 teachers to ease pressure on secondary schools that have admitted more Form One students this year.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia said the teachers would give a further boost to schools following record enrolment in secondary schools.
This brings to 13,700 the total number of teachers hired since the 100 per cent transition policy took effect.
Some 8,700 teachers were recruited last year, leaving an annual deficit of 3,300.
“We made a proposal to recruit 12,626 teachers annually for four years from 2018 at a cost of Sh8.3 billion. We were lucky to receive funds for 8,700 this year,” said Ms Macharia recently.
TSC received Sh2.5 billion to hire the teachers. Most of these will be secondary school tutors.
National Assembly Education Committee Chairperson Julius Melly said his team had petitioned the National Treasury to release Sh5 billion to hire 10,000 teachers.
“The Sh2.5 billion is not enough because the deficit is huge. But it is a good start and we appreciate the efforts,” said Melly.
“Schools are flooded with many students because of the 100 per cent transition and we are worried that the quality of education would be affected if timely interventions are not initiated,” he said.
The Government rolled out free day secondary education last year, pushing enrolment figures up by some 200,000.
The number is projected to go up this year as more students are expected to gain admission, with more than one million expected to report.
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.
Mrs Macharia has in the past said the current 312,000 teachers are overstretched.
“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 Macharia when she appeared before the Education Committee.
The CEO told MPs that TSC requires an annual increase of 12,000 teachers to effectively manage the rising 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.
This means that with 13,700 teachers hired, the first batch of the needed lot is complete.
Macharia said TSC needed to immediately recruit 57,000 additional teachers to address the huge shortage.
Speaking at the launch of Form One selection process late last year, Macharia said increased enrolment in secondary schools in recent years had left teachers overstressed and overstretched
A TSC brief on teachers support to the transition course 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.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday met Macharia at his Capitol Hill office in Nairobi.
The two are said to have discussed the status of education and challenges facing teachers.
“Dr Macharia paid me a courtesy call at Capitol Hill Square during which we had discussions on issues to do with education and the challenges teachers face,” Raila said.
The meeting comes two weeks after teachers threatened to go on strike over a number of issues they said their employer had failed to address.
At the beginning of the term, members of Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) had threatened to go on strike.
The labour court suspended the teachers’ strike and directed Knut and TSC to resume conciliation talks.
Justice Byram Ongaya also suspended the transfer of Knut branch officials and allowed the affected teachers to seek review without being victimised.
The judge also directed that promotion of teachers should be made as per the CBA and prevailing regulations on career progression.