The Teachers Service Commission is asking the Treasury for Sh16 billion to recruit 68,000 intern teachers as a temporary measure to address shortages in schools.
Chief executive officer Nancy Macharia told the National Assembly’s committee on Education that those to be recruited will automatically be absorbed permanently when opportunities arise.
“With the recruitment of interns, we will not be conducting annual recruitment as we will be able to employ them on permanent terms where vacancies arise and then hire more interns,” Mrs Macharia told the committee scrutinising its budget proposal for the 2018/2019 financial year.
However, Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba, who is the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) chairman, warned that such a move would result in more conflicts between the unions and TSC.
“We need to be careful with this proposal. It has been tried before and it failed. Now that the TSC boss is accompanied by lawyers, they need to advise the commission accordingly,” he said.
But Mrs Macharia defended the employment plan and asked the unions to support it.
“We are not touching on teachers who are on permanent and pensionable terms,” she said, adding that other government sectors were also hiring interns.
In the past, teachers’ unions have opposed the recruitment of teachers as interns.
Committee chairman Julius Melly supported the proposal, saying it will help address the shortage of more than 104,000 teachers across the country.
Mrs Macharia also asked for Sh5 billion to recruit 12,000 teachers to address the current shortage and an additional Sh3.6 billion to hire another 5,476 to cater for the 100 per cent pupil transition from primary to secondary schools.
Mrs Macharia said primary schools have a shortage of 40,972 teachers, while secondary schools need 63,849 more.
“The shortage has been created by the opening of new schools and the recent government policy on 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary schools, which commenced on January 2018,” she said.
She said the total gross budgetary allocation to TSC in the 2017/2018 financial year is Sh202 billion, excluding funds for the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) at Sh13.7 billion.
She said 400 teachers for tertiary institutions will be hired to support government programmes.
“The Commission is rolling out teacher professional development (TPD) modules. This programme is financed by the World Bank under the secondary education quality improvement project(SEQIP) at Sh2.3 billion.
"This is a six-year programme covering 17,000 primary schools and 8,500 secondary schools in 30 counties,” she added.
She told the committee that teacher training on the implementation of the new competence-based curriculum will cost Sh900 million while training and monitoring implementation of teacher performance appraisal in all public institutions will cost Sh200 million.
“The expenditure on operation and maintenance was significantly affected by austerity measures where 75 per cent reduction was effected on most items,” she told the committee.
However, Mrs Macharia said the austerity measures resulted in reduction of Sh423 million of the operation and maintenance budget, severely limiting service delivery.