MPs approve hiring of 87,000 intern teachers

MPs have endorsed a proposal by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to recruit 87,393 interns to bridge the biting staffing gap.

TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia said it would require up to Sh20 billion to recruit the intern teachers.

The National Assembly Education Committee, chaired by Julius Melly (Tinderet), directed Ms Macharia to develop a policy to be tabled in Parliament to support the recruitment.

Mr Melly told TSC to develop a policy framework and bring it before the committee by Monday next week.

He said the committee would table the document before the Budget and Appropriations Committee.

This means that if the process is fast-tracked, Kenyan schools would receive more intern teachers to relieve the overstretched staff.

MPs, however, want the policy to indicate specifically the terms of employment and at what stage the interns would be absorbed into permanent terms.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion, who is also a member of the Education Committee, said the union would support the policy as long as it respected labour laws.

Permanent basis

“The policy must state that once teachers graduate they shall be absorbed as interns and also state that they shall work for a certain period of time after which they will be automatically employed on permanent basis,” said Mr Sossion.

He said that as long as the remuneration and terms of engagement of the teachers were not clear, the union would oppose the course. “If the interns will not be automatically absorbed, then we shall oppose the initiative,” said Sossion.

Past attempts by TSC to recruit interns have been met with resistance from Knut and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary General Akelo Misori.

In 2009, unions opposed the hiring of 12,000 intern teachers. At that time, the TSC said teacher shortage stood at 63,000. TSC proposed to pay the interns Sh10,500 for those in primary schools and Sh14,000 for the degree holders.

Last year when TSC announced that it was planning to recruit some intern teachers, Sossion termed the proposal demeaning to the profession. But yesterday, he and Kuppet Chairman Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya), who are both committee members, backed it.