Teacher training colleges offering Diploma programmes want the Ministry of Education to raise university entry grade from C+ (plus) to a higher grade.
The colleges through the Kenya Teachers Colleges Principals’ Association, argue enrollment in the institutions have gone down after the ministry allowed students with C+ to get government sponsorship to universities.
The association’s chairman Saul Barasa said universities were keen on taking over already set up facilities, thus disadvantaging the colleges. He said the ministry should save the colleges from shutting down.
The Diploma Teacher Training Colleges enroll students with a minimum grade C+. However, the Ministry of Education announced that students with the same grade are eligible to join the universities for degree programmes.
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Mr Barasa said government agencies, Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and the Kenya National Qualification Authority should meet with education stakeholders and harmonise grades for students joining teachers training colleges.
The principals also said they were struggling with below half the capacity of students they are supposed to absorb due to the impasse over the cut-off grade.
“These government agencies need to sit down and deliberate on harmonising the grades. Right now, we are taking students who completed Form Four from as early as 2007 - someone who had even forgotten many things. They are the ones being admitted because now, others are going to universities,” Barasa said.
“Quality must prevail and the government should be reasonable that the grade we take for these colleges is good. Even the children you teach look at the grade you scored, so we should not demean the teaching profession,” he added.
Barasa, the Principal at Kibabii Diploma Teachers Training College, spoke at Meru Teachers Training College when principals met to fine tune preparations for this year’s ball games to be held in April.
The principals complained that their institutions were also grappling with poor facilities due to under funding.
“This sector has been grossly underfunded because in terms of development the colleges receive very little. Most of the old colleges have remained the same with no new infrastructure,” the association’s chair said.
Meanwhile, the tutors protested a growing trend where various universities are taking over mid-level colleges, saying it could kill host institutions.
They said Mosoriot, Kaimosi, Kibabii, Bondo and Garissa teachers’ colleges were currently struggling to restore facilities at a time student population had declined.
Barasa said universities were keen on taking over already set up facilities, thus disadvantaging the colleges.
“Universities taking over middle level colleges, especially teachers training colleges is something we do not support,” he said.
Barasa said it was wrong for the Education Ministry to favour some institutions and discriminating against mid-level colleges.
He said most institutions had now resorted to seeking funds from local NG-CDF to buy land to set up new facilities.
Barasa said many universities were being offered land but opted to go for the already existing structures at the expense of current institutions.
“When they decide to take over, they take everything. Starting afresh for the colleges is very difficult and we propose that let universities take care of themselves by putting up their facilities.
“The biggest challenge is infrastructure because you have nowhere to take the students because some universities have moved in and taken over facilities, leaving students stranded,” said Barasa.