TSC boss says 42,000 teachers needed to bridge JSS shortage

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers Bomet branch officials lead Junior Secondary Teachers in protest along the streets of Bomet town. [Gilbert Kimutai, Standard]

Some 20,000 new teachers will be hired as the government moves to bridge staffing gaps.

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has admitted that junior secondary schools are grappling with teacher shortages.

Chief Executive Nancy Macharia (pictured) said the schools require 99,045 teachers against the current number of 56,928.

The Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) pioneer class is reporting to Grade 8 and the second JSS class starts. 

However, as schools reopen, there are no extra teachers who will be employed, and the schools will have to wait until July.

“The government is continuously funding schools to progressively bridge the staffing gap. In the next financial year, TSC has requested funds to hire an additional 20,000 teachers to bridge the gap,” said Dr Macharia.

At the time, primary schools have a surplus of 18,194 teachers after the number of classes was reduced by two as the new curriculum rolled out.

Thus, she said, the commission will redistribute the teachers to schools that are understaffed to balance the teacher-learner ratio, which is recommended at 1:40.

Previously, Macharia had indicated a disparity in the ratio in the hard-to-staff regions such as northern Kenya. 

However, at junior secondary, the addition of a Grade 8 has increased the shortage to 42,117 teachers.

This comes amid an outcry by intern teachers – who were employed to handle the grade last year – over poor terms and working conditions.

The teachers last month went to court complaining of being forced to teach subjects that they were not qualified to handle. They have also accused the government of failure to keep the promise to hire them of permanent terms, and instead choosing to continue paying them poorly. 

The teachers also complained of a lack of teaching materials. This saw a section of the interns threaten not to resume duty this month.

Other good news for teachers is the plan to promote 36,505 to upper job grades. Out of these, 17,514 will be filled by primary school tutors while 18,591 belong to post-primary teachers.