MPs have demanded that teachers in hardship regions be paid higher allowances to cushion them against the challenges they face while working.
In a report tabled in the National Assembly, the Education committee said the allowances should be reviewed regularly to boost the net pay for the teachers.
Currently, such teachers earn between Sh6,600 and Sh38,100 per month depending on their grades and experience.
“The ministry of education should constantly review the existing laws and regulations in order to address the emerging issues and challenges that face the entire teaching fraternity,” reads the report of the committee chaired by Julius Melly (Tinderet).
It also want the government to allocate more cash to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for recruitment of more teachers to plug staffing gaps in schools.
“The TSC should continuously recruit teachers on availability of funds to bridge the deficit gap and address the inequitable distribution of teachers in schools across the country," says the report.
Currently the country has a shortage of 150,000 teachers while those who have graduated and are awaiting for employment are 290,000.
The reports says most public schools are operating with severe staff shortages and that the situation is more severe in some regions than others
The report encourages the TSC to continue with its policy of staffing delocalisation in public schools regardless of gender to promote national values, fairness, non-discrimination and equity.
TSC Chief executive Nancy Macharia recently told the committee that the teacher shortage is a direct consequence of budgetary allocation to the commission.
“Insecurity has mostly affected the arid and semi-arid counties - Mandera, Wajir, Lamu and Garissa due to Al Shabaab menace. The emerging trend by the terror groups to specifically target non-local teachers has worsened the situation,” said Mrs Macharia adding that the commission is currently defending numerous court cases where teachers have filed constitutional petitions contesting either transfers or posting to some counties.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has criticised TSC for failing to enforce discipline among teachers. It accuses TSC of being railroaded by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers.
“TSC is the employer and by law the regulator for teachers. It should live up to its billing. It cannot continue to give excuses. It must lead fairly but firmly. It must not be cowed by unnecessary calls for strikes by the trade unions,” it says in a report, adding that the commission should stand firm against the unions, especially on important policy matters.
“The welfare of teachers is as important as the welfare of learners. Trade unionists cannot enjoy a right that infringes on the right of learners,” says the report.
“Delocalisation must go on. Affected individual teachers should be allowed to appeal especially if they have family concerns. TSC must deal with such appeals fast and in a humane way,” it adds.
Cofek also wants the government to reduce the term dates from 14 weeks to 12 for first and second terms and retain 10 weeks for the third term.
It also wants the subjects reduced to a maximum five both in primary and secondary schools.
“Pupils and students, with the support of parents and teachers, will need to decide early enough if they are going for sciences or arts focus. If they choose arts, as many will do, they don’t need to be trained in science-based subjects which will not be useful to them,” reads the report.