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Government yet to release funds to hire new teachers

Wednesday February 21 2018

TSC CEO Nancy Macharia

TSC CEO Nancy Macharia who told National Assembly’s Education committee that the promise by the government to release the funds was yet to be honoured. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

OUMA WANZALA
By OUMA WANZALA
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The government is yet to release funds to recruit teachers to support the free day secondary school education.

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) warned Tuesday that delay in releasing Sh4.1 billion to hire 12,626 teachers was leading to the overworking of those available.

Chief executive Nancy Macharia told National Assembly’s Education committee chaired by Julius Melly (Tinderet) that the promise by the government to release the funds was yet to be honoured.

“In readiness for the 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary at the beginning of 2018, the commission projected to recruit an additional 12,626 teachers annually for the next four years,” Ms Macharia told the committee.

She disclosed that the shortage of teachers stands at 104,821, comprising 40,972 for primary and 63,849 for secondary schools.

STAFFING NORMS

Staffing of schools is based on staffing norms being curriculum based establishment (CBE) for post primary institutions and one teacher per class plus 2.5 per cent of the number of classes’ policy for primary schools.

Staffing norms take an ideal to be 50 learners, therefore pupil teacher ratio may not be an actual indicator of adequacy of teachers in a school.

“The commission has consistently requested for increased budgetary provisions to employ 20,000 teachers annually. This has not borne much fruit as the National Assembly appropriates Sh2.5 billion annually for recruitment of 5,000 teachers,” said the TSC boss.

Ms Macharia added that the recruitment of 20,000 is separate from the hiring of 12,626 teachers for 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school.

REPLACEMENT

“The commission has also put in place mechanisms to ensure that replacement of teachers who exit service is done promptly to ensure learning is not interrupted,” said the CEO, adding that the commission has ensured that teachers who are already in service and the few who are recruited are proportionally distributed across the country to address the staffing gaps.

In the report, Kakamega County leads in shortage of teachers in secondary schools, followed by Bungoma (2,890), Kitui (2,692), Kisii (2,686) and Migori (2,315) while Garissa has the least shortage at 184 teachers.

SHORTAGES

In primary schools, Bungoma County has the highest shortage of teachers, followed by Kakamega at 3,615 while Kitui has a shortage of 2,764.

Ms Macharia admitted that there are regional disparities in the distribution of teachers across the country.

Some of the measures that have been taken by the commission to address the inequality in distribution of teachers she said included; allocation of vacancies during recruitment based on the staffing norms in the county with counties that have acute shortages getting higher ratio for recruitment and continuous teacher rationalisation through transfers which are done mostly at the end of each calendar year.

On transfers, the TSC executive officer said the transfers affected 346 teachers out of 8,542 translating to 4.05 per cent of the principals in secondary schools.

She said in 2015, 495 principals out of 7,830 were transferred, in 2016 a total of 246 out of 8,121 were transferred while in 2017, 346 out of 8,542 were transferred.

EQUAL DISTRIBUTION

MPs led by Mr Melly asked the commission to ensure equal distribution of teachers in the country noting that some schools were getting a row deal in terms of teachers.

He also condemned the attack on teachers by politicians saying such behaviour should not be tolerated.

Ms Macharia also raised concerns over politicizing of education and asked politicians to keep off the sector.

She advised teachers fleeing Wajir County for fear of attacks by Shabaab to register with TSC county director.

Members of the committee said teachers who fear for their lives should not be forced to continue working in North Eastern.

Teachers from other parts of the country are fleeing the region after an attack by the terrorist group that left two teachers and a wife of one of the teacher’s dead on Friday last week.

Ms Macharia said insecurity had mostly affected arid and semi-arid counties with serious challenges being experienced in Mandera, Wajir, Lamu and Garissa counties due to Al-Shabaab menace.

TRANSFERS

On transfers, Mrs Macharia said the transfers affected 346 teachers out of 8542 translating to 4.05 percent of the principals in secondary schools.

She said in 2015, 495 principals out of 7830 were transferred, in 2016 a total of 246 out of 8121 were transferred while in 2017 346 out of 8542 were transferred.

Mrs Macharia added that 31 principals in national schools were transferred, 77 in extra counties for girls and 73 for boys, 10 vacancies were filled in national schools 134 extra and sub county schools were transferred while 19 tertiary institutions were affected by the transfers.

She defended performance appraisal and contracting saying it had improved performance in schools as well as improved contact hours.

Mrs Macharia also raised concerns over politicization of education sector and asked politicians to keep off the sector.

SHABAAB ATTACKS

She advised teachers who are fleeing Wajir County for fear of attacks by Al-Shabab to register with TSC county director.

Mrs Macharia told the committee that once they get the statistics the Commission will be able to make a decision.

“We have asked those teachers to register with our officers on the ground. On Monday we held a meeting with our officer in Wajir on how best to handle the crisis,” said Mrs Macharia.

Members of the community said teachers who fear for their lives should not be forced to continue working in North Eastern.

Teachers from other parts of the country are fleeing the region after an attack by the terror group that left two teachers and wife of one of the teacher dead on Friday.

Mrs Macharia said insecurity had mostly affected the arid and semi-arid counties with serious challenges being experienced majorly in Mandera, Wajir, Lamu and Garissa counties due to Al-Shabab menace.

NON-LOCALS

“The emerging trend by the terror group to specifically attack non-local teachers has worsened the situation,” said Mrs Macharia regretting that since 2015, the commission has buried young and energetic teachers who for the love and passion of their profession were posted to serve in North Eastern region.

She said due to recent attacks already teachers unions are demanding for mass withdrawal of non-local teachers from the region, a move she said will be a challenge in achieving equity in distribution of teachers.

“In 2015, the Commission interdicted over 2,000 teachers who declined to report to their stations of work due to perceived insecurity in North Eastern region.

Other ASAL counties have experienced sporadic cases of insecurity occasioned by community conflicts, banditry and cattle rustling. This has adversely affected equitable distribution of teachers,” Mrs Macharia told the committee.

She said incidences where teachers have been attacked by host communities for perceived poor performance have been reported in a number of counties including Samburu, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Migori, West Pokot, Makueni, Bungoma and Baringo among others.