The 12,000 interns hired by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), under the Covid-19 economic stimulus package, reported to schools yesterday.
The interns, recruited at a cost of Sh2.4 billion, will take the pressure off teachers, who are presently overstretched due to the new realities occasioned by Covid-19.
The Standard has established that TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia (pictured) has directed County Directors of Education to ensure that all the interns are processed on time.
Some of the TSC directors have been burning the midnight oil to clear and dispatch letters to the teachers.
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Those posted to secondary schools will earn a stipend of Sh20,000 per month while interns in primary schools will take home Sh15,000.
The number of the interns, however, falls below the teacher needs presented by the commission to MPs.
In a report tabled in Parliament ahead of schools reopening, Macharia said TSC urgently required Sh17 billion to hire 26,000 teachers to manage increased enrolment under the 100 per cent transition.
She said TSC required another Sh8.1 billion annually to hire 12,500 teachers to plug the normal shortage.
Macharia told MPs that cumulatively, the commission required Sh25 billion to effectively prepare for schools reopening.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), however, said that its analysis of immediate teacher needs stands at 50,000.
Kuppet Secretary General Akello Misori said some of the teachers would be retiring soon while those with underlying conditions may work from home.
“In Kuppet’s estimation, to maintain current staffing levels, Kenya needs 50,000 new teachers in 2021 and a further 15,000 every year for the subsequent five years,” said Mr Misori.
Kuppet’s projections mirror TSC’s requirements for normal staffing.
“Under normal staffing, the commission needed 50,504 teachers to support the existing staff establishment,” said Macharia.
Macharia said the target had not been met due to inadequate budgetary provisions. She told MPs that the commission has employed 23,700 teachers since 2017.
In the current financial year, the commission received a budget of Sh2.5 billion to employ 5,000 teachers.
Macharia told MPs that there was an urgent need to meet the right staffing levels amid challenges posed by Covid-19 on learning.