TSC to post 6,000 teachers to special schools

TSC CEO Nancy Macharia. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Some 6,000 teachers will be deployed to Special Needs Education (SNE) centres in a bid to address biting shortage.

A section of the teachers were initially attached to SNE before moving to regular schools where career progression is almost guaranteed.

In a deal inked between Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (Kusnet) and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) the teachers will now be transferred back to the  special needs schools where numbers have been dwindling. 

During a meeting in Naivasha last week, the teachers' employer agreed to deploy the tutors in three phases, commencing second term.

The first batch will consist of 1,750 teachers while the second deployment in December will comprise 2,000 teachers. The last phase will of consist 347 teachers who initially were in SNE but moved to regular schools.

Kusnet chairman Peter Sitienei said this will improve standards in special schools.

Currently, there are 300 primary schools and 38 secondary schools catering for learners with special needs and disabilities.

Sitienei noted that teachers in special units in regular schools will now be exempted from teaching and other responsibilities to fully concentrate on learners with special needs.

"Special needs children need to be assessed at county level. There is need to develop devolved units of cycle education centres in all our counties. It requires a lot of manpower, finances, and reorganisation since we need the teachers to pay full attention to the learners so that curriculum can be delivered effectively," he said.

The Kusnet boss urged teachers in regular schools to apply for redeployment to SNE institutions.

TSC at the same time agreed to establish an SNE section at its headquarters, staffed with personnel knowledgeable in SNE matters.

The move to improve learning in special needs schools came on the backdrop of the push by the National Assembly Education Committee for SNE to be allocated more funding.

In a meeting with Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu on Thursday last week, Baringo Central MP Joshua Kandie, a member of the committee, decried under-staffing in special needs schools across the country.

"Some parents are forced to hide their children at home because they cannot afford to take them to school since some of them are demanding money," he said.

Machogu admitted a shortfall in service delivery and blamed underfunding from the exchequer.

"Learners with special needs require more resources, including a staffing ratio of one teacher to one learner for those with severe disabilities," he said.

Lugari MP Nabii Nabwera accused the ministry of making decisions without knowing the exact challenges on the ground.

"For every deaf or blind child there must be one helper. If you take people's children to a school, where they are 30 with 10 helpers, you have only sent them to die there," said Nabwera.

Luanda MP Dick Maungu said learners in SNE schools are living in deplorable conditions for lack of enough human resource.

"Home based care cannot work without people to take care of them. The situation on the ground is so dire," he said.

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