3,265 kicked out of teacher colleges in low grades row

Tuesday May 7 2019

NATIONAL SCHOOLS

Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang. Several colleges have already released the trainees following a directive Dr Kipsang last week. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

OUMA WANZALA
By OUMA WANZALA
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A total of 3,265 students admitted to teachers training colleges with low entry grades in October have been kicked out  after studying for two terms.

Several colleges have already released the trainees following a directive by Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang last week.

Some of the students have since moved to court to challenge the decision. Hearing of the case will  be on May 9, in Nairobi.

COURT RULING

However, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) in a paid up advert in local dailies maintains that it has the mandate  — under Article 237(3)(a) — to set entry grades for teacher education programmes. According to  the TSC, those joining Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) must have D+ and above, those joining diploma colleges must have a C+, diploma for visual and hearing impaired a C, P1 a C and a Bachelor’s degree a C+.

Section 23 of the Teachers Service Commission Act 2012, provides that; “A person shall not engage in the teaching service unless such a person is a registered teacher under the (TSC) Act.

“For one to be registered, one will be required to have met the minimum entry grades to teacher training institutions,” said TSC boss Nancy Macharia.

Dr Kipsang has since directed that the trainees join technical training institutes.

He also withdrew Legal Notice No118 of 2018 which had lowered the minimum admission requirements for diploma and certificate entry to D (plain) for certificate, C- for Diploma, and C+  for degree courses. “You are hereby directed to bring to the attention of all principals of teacher training colleges, both public and private, that entry grades for persons entering teacher training colleges shall remain as prescribed in legal notice No.50 of 2016,” said Dr Kipsang in a letter dated April 26 to all regional directors of Education.

He went on: “Thus, the letter MOE.HQS.3/12 dated October 15 2018 on lowering the grades is hereby withdrawn by the content and court ruling.”

SOLE MANDATE

The PS also directed regional directors of education to liaise with principals of teacher training colleges for placement of affected students who may wish to transfer to technical training institutes,

Last month, the TSC, Education Cabinet Secretary, Kenya National Qualifications Authority and the Attorney-General agreed to quash the order in a consent signed before Justice Weldon Korir.

This is after the TSC sued former Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed insisting that it had, under the law, the sole mandate of altering entry grades to teachers training colleges. Mr Abdishukri Adan Mohamed, through lawyer Steve Mogaka, has filed an application at the Constitutional Court seeking to have the trainees continue with their studies. “The students applied for the training, they were selected and have studied for two terms after paying fees and it will be unfair to kick them out of TTCs,” said Mr Mogaka.

The Senate Education Committee has since asked the government to compensate trainees who have been kicked out of colleges.

Committee chairman Christopher Lang'at (Bomet) said it was unfair for the government to keep the students in college for two terms and send them packing. “Parents invested in school fees for their children and the government must refund the cash and provide alternative courses to these students,” said Dr Langat.

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) also challenged the lowering of grades last year but later withdrew the case only for the TSC to challenge the same.

The court had initially directed the Education ministry and the TSC to harmonise the framework to allow admissions to the 27 TTCs across the country.

Ms Mohamed had explained that Article 56 of the Constitution obligates the government to put in place affirmative action programmes designed to ensure that minorities and marginalised groups are provided special opportunities in economic and education fields.