Revealed: Radical plan to reform teacher training, hiring

Grade Three pupils at Green Wood Academy in Kawangware, Nairobi, during their rehearsal for the national assessment on September 20. [File, Standard]
Teaching is set for major reforms as the Ministry of Education implements far-reaching changes for the next five years.

Part of this will include teacher training, recruitment and deployment of staff expected to seal the staffing gaps.

The reforms will also include a major staff shakeup in public schools as the government plans to reduce the number of teachers employed by boards.

The Ministry of Education says it will scale down the number of teachers under Boards of Management from 80,000 to 23,000 as it provides essential teacher requirements to realise the 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary schools.

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The details are contained in the National Education Sector Strategic Plan (NESSP) launched by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.

Overall, the report, which also proposes policy priorities, programmes and strategies for basic and higher education, suggests an ambitious Sh4 trillion budget to align the sector between 2018-22.

“The projected cost is based on the ambitious increment in enrollment at all levels coupled with the activities identified to strengthen the system for quality service delivery,” reads the report.

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A status review of the current education training reveals that the teaching programmes face a number of design and pedagogical challenges that must be addressed.

The report finds that there are inadequate guidelines on identification and deployment of teacher educators in pre-service training institutions.

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In addition to this, the infrastructure in the pre-service training institutions are inadequate or dilapidated.

Report however says the shift towards Competency Based Education presents an opportunity for reforms in the way teachers are prepared for curriculum delivery.

“It is therefore necessary to shift focus to aligning the pre-service teacher development programmes with the projected demand for teachers in areas of specialisation and the country’s long-term manpower needs,” reads report.

As part of the grand reforms in teacher education, the report proposes that the Ministry must undertake a study to evaluate the status and relevance of existing pre-service teacher training programmes.

Internship programmes

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This means the Ministry will review the curricula and assessment framework for pre-primary, primary and secondary school pre-service teacher training.

Rehabilitation of existing colleges for pre-service training of the reformed curriculum and developing guidelines of identification and deployment of teacher educators in teacher ?training institutions is also lined up.

In addition to these, the Ministry will induct educators in all teacher-training institutions on the reviewed curricula and also develop framework to institutionalise internship programmes for all persons entering the ?teaching service.

What will however shake teachers and schools is the move to rationalise teachers’ distribution across the country. Report reveals that there exists a skewed teacher distribution in the country with various reasons cited for the imbalance.

“There are disparities in the number of teachers, across the counties, even within schools with similar enrollment,” reads the report.

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The document says counties in ASAL areas have fewer teachers relative to other counties of the same school size and proposes a review of teacher staffing norms at the basic education level.

Within the next five years, the report proposes development of a policy framework on distribution of teachers at all levels.

“This will reduce regional disparities in teacher distribution to attain parity in pupil-teacher ratio of 1:50 across counties and to also establish differentiated staffing norms in marginalised regions and areas of extreme low enrollments,” reads the report.

Overall, the report lists factors that lead to the unequal deployment of teachers, among them insecurity.

It also lists political and stakeholder interference, preference of teachers for urban and high potential areas and unwillingness of teachers to be separated from their families.

Medical attention and the rapid establishment of new schools also contribute to the imbalance.

Last week, Prof Magoha said some 3,000 schools are operating illegally without registration licenses.

Further on deployment reforms, report finds that placement of staff has not always matched the individual’s skills and competences.

It says this has resulted in ineffective staff management, unmet staff development needs, unsystematic staff deployment, among other challenges, leading to low motivation, which has eventually affected service delivery.

Special needs

Moving forward, the report says, the Ministry shall enhance the capacity of staff to deliver better services to children and youth with special needs and disabilities through systematic activities.

These shall include developing guidelines for recruitment, training and deployment of LSAs in inclusive schools, developing curriculum for training learning support assistants (LSAs) and recruiting, training and deploying of LSAs in inclusive schools.

Report also projects to train 3,500 primary school teachers on SNE at diploma level and some 9,000 teachers on adapted digital content and assistive technology.

Some 171 teachers will be trained in model inclusive schools in Kenya Sign Language, another 500 special needs trainers and 140 special needs lecturers in TVET and universities respectively.

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TeachersMinistry of EducationTSC