Changes that teachers' union would like to see in our schools

A teacher at Mully Children Family at school on October 05, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

From the global perspective, countries are moving from the 9 to 12 years of primary education, majority of them have moved to 6-8 years of primary education and intermediate/lower secondary, hence the structure 2-6-3-3-3 is well in line the Global reforms on education structure.

As of 2020 statistical data, we have 32,437 primary educational institutions, including private and public schools in Kenya and 10,413 secondary educational institutions. Out of these 8000 are public secondary schools. The 23,286 public primary and 9,058 private primary schools mostly channel their students to public secondary schools.

With the double classes transiting to secondary in 2023, it means majority of the learners will not get admission to secondary schools, which are three times less than primary schools. Aready secondary schools are overstretched due to the 100 per cent transition policy for learners from primary to secondary schools. Grade 7, 8 and 9 should therefore be domiciled in primary schools.

In the new structure of education, basic education includes pre-primary (ECDE), primary and secondary. While primary and secondary shools are managed by the national government, ECDE is managed by county governments. However due to the weak structures at county level, Knut recommends that ECDE be managed by the national government and the teachers be managed by Teachers Service Commission as mandated by Article 237 (b), (c) and (d) of the Kenya Constitution.

The delocalisation policy should be done away with since it is causing untold suffering to teachers and has no value to performance and the quality of teaching. The employer should endeavour to give a clear framework of returning affected teachers back to their former counties. This will help in re-energising those who had already lost hope and were already demotivated at their places of work.

There is need to review the capitation formula at all educational levels at the basic sub sector. The amount of money being disbursed to both primary and secondary schools dates back to more than 10 years. The cost production of goods and services has increased and inflation is also extremely high. Capitation for learners in the different education levels should be increased.

There is need to ensure teachers are adequately facilitated, prepared and supported to develop the required knowledge, skills and competencies to deliver the CBC.

In addition the role of parents in supporting learning under CBC should be clearly defined. Most parents do not understand their roles and this has led to public outcry with claims that parents are being treated just like their children. Value-based education and community service learning are areas of excitement for learners, they should be up scaled and more sensitization undertaken country wide so the public perception changes.

On assessments and examinations, Knec should give guidelines on learner assessment types and formats which should be clearly communicated to teachers, learners and parents.

The duration to undertake each set of assessment should be scheduled on time and properly communicated with an adequate time-frame to allow teachers, learners and parents to prepare. There is need to have a well-structured assessment and examination framework with timelines.

On Quality Assurance and Standard Framework, there is duplication of roles between the Ministry of Education and Teachers Service Commission. The quality assurance desk at the ministry is doing exactly the same functions as that of the Teachers Service Commission. Knut proposes that quality assurance and standards be a stand-alone state department with the mandate for overseeing, supervising, coordinating and ensuring all matters of quality are taken care of.

The teachers must be equipped with technological skills to advance teaching and learning. The world is constantly changing towards digital teaching and learning. With time, the in-person space of teaching and learning may be replaced by the ravaging technology. Employers, government and trainers should develop a curriculum that has the future of education in mind.

Special needs education (SNE) should be made accessible to all deserving learners. There is need to establish and construct more special needs schools for each SNE unique learner's disability. Introduction of integrated schools policy and enforcement of the policy to by TSC and the Education should be done.

There is need to enhance bursary support to learners and streamline the coordination and management of the same by a central body with proper structures for accountability and efficiency to ensure that all learners benefit.

Government needs to ensure a well-coordinated structure for development and improving roads, electricity and internet connectivity in schools to allow accessibility of schools and learning in the era of digital literacy.

Different partners should be allowed to support public education for example by setting up e-libraries, Internet connections, teaching learning resources, learner education bursaries and sponsorsing orphans and vulnerable children, sports and talent development.

Development of a standardised teacher education curriculum with structured regular tooling and re-tooling workshops for teachers to be aligned with the foreseeable curriculum review should be undertaken.