Government should bear full cost of training teachers

Royal Metropolis Academy teacher, Ziporah Boyani, taking Grade 4 pupils through a lesson in Nyamira, 2022. [Stanley Ongwae, Standard]

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and International Labour Organisation's recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966) and Unesco's recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel (1997) observed that access to, equity in, and the quality of education greatly depend on governments’ funding of continuous teacher training and updating teaching and pedagogical skills.

Unesco's Education 2030 Incheon Declaration directs governments to review, analyse and improve the quality of teacher training and to provide all teachers with quality continuous professional development.

In addition, a number of international standard-setting instruments which are legally binding such as treaties, conventions, agreements and protocols as well as recommendations and declarations that have political and moral force have established a solid international normative framework for continuous teacher training and updating of teaching and pedagogical skills - programmes that should be funded fully by governments without discrimination or exclusion.

Hence, it is obligatory for the Kenyan government to facilitate continuous teacher training as stated in Section 11 (e) of TSC Act (2012).

The rapidly changing Kenyan education needs well trained teachers – and the responsibility for teachers' professional development, and career progression squarely lies with the State. The State has a constitutional responsibility to fund teacher professional development as it is part of manpower development.

As the government reconditions other sectors of the economy, teachers must get updated with effective pedagogies, new skills, and techniques – including how the syllabus should be covered adequately under challenging circumstances and diverse learning environments.

Since globalisation has influenced the education framework, strategies, and pedagogical skills, the government needs to take full charge and substantially invest in structured teacher professional development and career progression programmes without ever thinking of passing the buck to teachers, majority of whom are poorly remunerated.

It is baffling that the commission did not include teacher professional development and career progression programmes in the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan and in the budget.

It is absurd and self-defeating for the commission to purport that it backs programmes for teacher professional development, and yet sets barriers on teachers’ career path by charging tutors undertaking professional development modules.

The cost for manpower development, the world over is defrayed by the employer.

The teacher professional development and career progression is part of the commission’s human resource development strategy so as to maximise human capital potential and attain strategic professional Teaching Standards.

It will be a contravention of sections 41 (d) and 42 (1) of Basic Education Act (2013) to compel teachers foot bills for continuous teacher training programmes.

Mr Sossion is a member of parliamentary committees on Education and Labour