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Special teachers can contain arson in Kenyan schools, union tells TSC

EDUCATION
By Graham Kajilwa | August 10th 2016
Property worth millions of shillings have been destroyed after students burned down dorms, libraries and other school property over the last two months. PHOTO: FILE

NAIROBI: A union handling affairs of special needs education now wants its teachers employed in mainstream schools as guiding and counselling specialists.

According to the Kenya Union of Special Need Education Teachers (KUSNET) there is no need for the government to employ new specialists when there are qualified teachers in the same sector.

"There is a group of teachers who have been trained in emotional and behavioural disorder who are well capable of handling the department," said KUSNET Secretary General James Torome.

As part of the recommendations that was reached upon between the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA) on School arson, TSC had resolved to equip every secondary school with counselling specialists.

This is to be one of the long term solutions in solving the issue of school unrest that is argued to have reached its peak this year with over 110 schools affected in just a period of less than two months.

TSC boss Nancy Macharia had said that her commission will work together with the education ministry to introduce fully fledged offices of qualified counsellors in secondary schools to attend to address students’ social, academic and developmental needs.

This means schools should soon have a specific specialist working as a counsellor instead of teachers who double up as school counsellors as it is the tradition.

"We do support TSC move to higher counsellors in schools but we ask for consideration that at least 30 per cent of employment opportunities by the commission should be given to special need teachers," said Torome.

Torome noted that there are many teachers graduating from Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) but the government has never prioritised the special need education as a wanting sector.

"That is why we need a special needs authority to advocate for our needs as sector. The Disability Act and the TSC Act are too fragmented to address our pressing needs," said Torome.

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