Crisis of school leadership: Shock of 3,000 institutions without headteachers

Teacher shortage

The draft task force report also shows within nursery schools in public primary institutions, there are some 42,522 tutors. These nursery teachers are spread across 28,818 primary schools in the country.

Rift Valley region has the highest number of nursery school teachers at 13,589 across 10,654 primary schools. Coast region has the least nursery schools, 3,417.

The report showed the leadership crisis in primary and secondary schools as a number of schools do not have heads. Schools in Kakamega, Kitui and Kisii lead in the number of institutions without headteachers.

An analysis of the task force data by The Standard reveals that in Kakamega there are 121 primary schools that lack a substantive headteacher out of the 895 schools.

Kitui lacks 112 head teachers, Kisii (110), Nakuru (88), Makueni (86), Bungoma (81), Bomet (77), and Nandi (77) while Nyamira and Muranga tie with 69 institutions lacking a substantive head.

On the other hand, the data shows that Garissa, Isiolo, Narok, and Samburu have the least number of schools struggling with a lack of leadership.

In Garissa, only three schools out of the 195 lack a substantive head. In Isiolo only five schools of the 112 primary institutions lack a head, Narok with 711 primary schools only lack seven heads, and in Samburu, only seven schools lack a substantive head.

For secondary schools, Kitui County has the highest number of secondary schools lacking a substantive principal in 68 schools out of the total 452 institutions.

In Homa Bay county, out of the 333 schools some 57 lack principals, while in Nakuru 56 schools don't have a head with a total of 373 secondary schools.

Other counties topping the list of secondary schools without heads include Bomet (55), Kakamega (53), West Pokot (53), Meru (51) and Migori (50).


Data captured in the task force draft report also shows that primary schools in three counties-Baringo, Marsabit and West Pokot- have more head teachers than the number of institutions.

Baringo County which has 722 primary schools has 849 head teachers. Marsabit County which has 180 primary schools has 195 head teachers. While West Pokot with 654 primary schools has 670 head teachers.

Speaking in parliament earlier, Teachers Service Commission chief executive Dr Nancy Macharia said there exist some tutors who have attained the qualifications of head teachers but still serve as classroom teachers.

While primary schools carry the bulk of school-going children, it is secondary schools that suffer from the highest shortage of teachers.

In primary school, the data shows there are 223,296 teachers, but the schools need up to 267,792 teachers, leaving a 44,496 deficit. There are also some 9,246 secondary schools in the country with a total of 123,985 teachers, yet they need 182,566. This means the institutions suffer a shortfall of 58,581.

Finer details show that in secondary schools, after Kakamega County, Bungoma County has the second highest teachers' deficit.

Bungoma which has 370 secondary schools has a teacher deficit of 3,529.


Nakuru county which has 373 secondary schools has a deficit of 2,875 teachers. It is followed by Homa Bay County, which has a deficit of 2,570 teachers across its 333 secondary schools.

Bomet County closes the top five understaffed secondary schools. The county, which has 280 secondary schools, needs 2,368 teachers.

In primary schools, other counties that have high primary school teacher deficits are Kilifi, which requires 3,344 tutors across its 543 schools.

Narok County which has 711 primary schools requires 2,954 new teachers, according to the report. Kakamega county which has some 895 primary schools will require some 2,922 tutors to bridge its deficit.

Kitui closes the top five counties with the highest primary school teachers shortage. The county which has 1,382 primary schools require 2,911 new teachers.

Overall, all the 9,246 secondary schools nationally require some 58,581 teachers to be posted in high schools. In the 23,274 primary schools, the report puts the total teacher deficit at 44,496.

This brings the total teachers' deficit in public primary and secondary to 103,077.

This is however lower than the data provided by TSC last week during its strategic plan launch.

In its data, TSC put the teacher shortage at 111,870 tutors. The teacher's employer requested an additional Sh78 billion to hire more teachers in the next five years as part of its five-year strategic plan.

Overall, TSC will require Sh134 billion to implement the strategic plan launched.

Appreciating the crisis in schools, Dr Macharia said the teachers' shortfall informed the contents of the 2023-2027 Strategic Plan, which heavily focuses on the welfare of teachers.

''Teachers ultimately shape learners' lives. To enable us to serve our clients better, we have changed our corporate vision statement to a motivated, ethical and globally competitive teacher,'' she said.

She added: ''It is abundantly clear that the teacher is the focus of our reforms. The main strategic focus areas highlighted in the new plan are a testament to the direction we are taking.''

High number of learners

According to the draft task force report, the shortfall of teachers has been occasioned by an increase in the number of learners in basic education, the 100 per cent transition and free day secondary education.

They argue that the Competency-Based Curriculum has aggravated the situation as it introduced new areas of learning. TSC is already hiring 20,000 teachers to address a shortage in schools. Of these, TSC said 18,000 intern teachers are being hired and will be posted to junior secondary schools (JSS).

Another 2,000 intern teachers will be deployed to primary schools to support the implementation of the new curricula. Dr Macharia said applications for the jobs will close on July 18. The draft task force report also shows that some six counties enjoy a surplus in the number of teachers needed in their primary schools.

These include Baringo which has 411 more teachers than it requires, Embu (74), Kericho (54), Kirinyaga (255), and Murang'a (2).

The reforms team explained that the TSC is expected to redistribute teachers from overstaffed regions to schools that have teacher shortages.

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