Give teachers needed support, they are change agents

An empty classroom at Sinoni primary school in Mochongoi, Baringo south constituency on March 6, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Transformation of education begins with teachers. Thus, educators have to be supported with practical resources, be assisted to master the curriculum and be aided to have the much-needed knowledge to run a successful classroom.

As a matter of fact, for teachers to transform education, authorities must create an engaging and effective learning environment.

According to UNESCO, a learning environment encompasses learning resources and technology, means of teaching, modes of learning, and connections to societal and global contexts.

The role teachers play in providing quality education is not in doubt hence, teachers have to be celebrated for the duties and responsibilities they perform in transforming education.

Consequently, the theme of this year's International Teachers Day captures the spirit, imagination and mood of Kenyan teachers as they continue to commemorate the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO recommendation concerning the status of teachers.

Nonetheless, the point of contention is: How should teachers be appreciated and celebrated for the priceless role they play in society and their huge value to learners? It is refreshing that the Kenya Kwanza government is committed to addressing the inequalities in the education system.

These include supporting teachers with practical resources, mastering the curriculum, providing updates on pedagogies and continuously providing the knowledge needed to run the classrooms.

To make certain that teachers continue to undertake their roles effectively as change agents, the government should pay for in-service teacher training; bridge the current teacher shortage gap of 116,000 within two financial years; establish a special service tariff for all learning institutions for basic utilities such as water, electricity and internet connection.

As part of the discourse to support teachers to successfully deliver on their mandate, the new government should domesticate teacher recruitment and deployment at the entry-level, according to the UNESCO teacher deployment practice which treats education as a cultural process conducted within a people's cultural context at the local level.

All schools including those in marginalised areas must affirmatively have enough teachers. To deal with the challenge faced by teachers resulting from delocalisation, the government should replace this policy with a nationalisation programme which will incentivise teachers who choose to serve in other parts of the country.

To cultivate and maintain cordial industrial relations with the government, teachers urge the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and trade unions to restore the original Recognition Agreement signed on May 15, 1968, as the new agreement signed in 2021 violates the Constitution (2010), Labour Relations Act (2007), TSC Act (2012) and the UNESCO/ILO statutes.

Mr Wilson Sossion is an expert in education, leadership and policy