The government has set aside an additional of Sh6.5 billion to the Ministry of Education for hiring more teachers and improving infrastructure.
In his address to the nation on Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the money will be used to cushion the sector from the negative effects of Covid-19 pandemic.
The President said that part of the money will be used to hire 10,000 teachers and 1,000 ICT interns during the Covid-19 pandemic season.
He said the government is committed to ensuring there is continuous education despite the challenges the country is facing during the pandemic.
“As a government, we are committed to ensure there is continuous education during this period. As a government, we will be coming up with new guidelines to ensure education continues,” said President Kenyatta.
The President said the money will also be used to buy 250,000 desks for schools across the country. Mr Kenyatta said the desks will be made by local artisans.
“The employment of new teachers is a one of the strategies of ensuring that thousands of unemployed graduates get jobs in the teaching profession,” said Mr Kenyatta.
He said the education sector is one of the hardest hit sectors by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Teachers Service Commission statistics, there are over 300,000 jobless trained and registered tutors in the country.
In January, the TSC advertised over 2,000 job vacancies in both primary and secondary schools. Those to be hired will replace those who have exited the service through natural attrition.
TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia has said the commission sought to recruit 1,591 teachers in primary schools and 529 others in secondary schools.
Last year, the commission recruited 16,979 teachers. To ease staffing shortage, the commission also recruited 10,000 interns who reported to schools in January.
According to TSC’s 2019-2023 strategic plan, the government plans to be recruit at least 12,000 teachers annually in to curb the increasing teacher shortage in public schools.
By 2023, the teacher shortage is projected at 61,671 for secondary and 34,941 for primary schools.
During the 2019-2020 budget, the government allocated Sh473 billion to the sector. The education budget was the highest among other sectors.
Schools were closed in March after the first coronavirus case was reported in the country. Currently, most schools are offering e-lessons.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has since appointed a taskforce to advice of the opening of schools.
So far, the education stakeholders have submitted their proposals on the possible opening dates. This has elicited mixed reactions from teachers unions.
The Kenya union of Post Primary Teachers has recommended partial reopening of schools in June, while the Kenya National Union of Teachers wants schools to open next year.