The Kenya National Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has urged the Ministry of Education to employ 20,000 more teachers to balance the teacher-student ratio in secondary schools.
Kuppet Secretary General Akello Misori and national chairman Omboko Milemba said the 100 per cent transition rate of students from primary to secondary schools had stretched facilities.
“An acute shortage of teachers is prevailing in all public secondary schools with serious congestion in classrooms, dormitories and dining halls as students are forced to queue to use toilets,” Mr Misori told Nation.
Mr Milemba said: “It is unfortunate that the Teachers Service Commission has only sought to replace less than 5,000 teachers who have left the service as a result of natural attrition. This annual exercise does not help the situation as there are hundreds of teachers leaving yearly.”
Mr Edward Obwocha, Kuppet secretary in charge of secondary schools, the government should at least raise the number of teachers being replaced yearly to 10,000 and employ another 20,000 to address the shortages.
“Some schools have been forced to create makeshift classrooms to accommodate the high number of Form One students who, as a result of teacher shortages, will not get adequate attention from the available teachers,” Mr Obwocha said on telephone.
The officials also said a uniform template should be used in allocation of infrastructural funds to schools in light of the government’s 100 per cent transition rate policy.
Congestion in the schools is coming to light barely a week after the first batch of students reported for Form One in a situation that is expected to worsen in the coming weeks with the admission deadline having been shifted to January 18.
“The congestion affects both day and boarding schools across the country and there is an immediate need to set aside funds to expand the facilities,” said Mr Obwocha.
Mr Misori accused the government of failing to pay 3,099 tutors at the Technical and Vocational Education Training institutions whose payrolls had been transferred to the Public Service Commission.
“If the teachers will not have been paid by Wednesday, then the Ministry of Education should know that we will organise mass demonstrations of the affected teachers and other stake holders who will camp at the ministry headquarters until the money is paid,” he said.
The unionists said that the affected teachers, majority of whom are servicing bank loans, had received demand notices from the financial institutions after their employer failed to remit the monthly deductions.
“Some of the affected teachers have not only been harassed and they fear that auctioneers may attach their properties whose ownership documents are with the banks as security,” said Mr Obwocha.
He said that the accrued interest for defaulting to pay the loans in time would unfortunately have been passed on to the teachers by the banks.