The government will over the next two weeks start the process of employing an additional 3,000 teachers in a bid to address an acute shortage facing learning institutions.
Schools are facing a national shortage of more than 85,000 teachers, mostly at the secondary level. Teachers Service Commission chief executive officer Nancy Macharia said some schools have a shortage of more than 10 teachers.
“There are cases where, due to high demand for vacancies, a few schools have a shortfall of as many as 15 teachers, and this has led to a cumulative shortage,” said Dr Macharia.
Speaking at the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association annual conference in Mombasa, Dr Macharia said the success of the 100 per cent transition policy has led to an increased demand for teachers to handle the additional workload.
“The 100 per cent transition is a government programme to accelerate access to secondary education. As a result of the programme, many of our youth who would have otherwise missed an opportunity for secondary education are now in school. Due to the huge success in enrolment of learners, many secondary schools have had to start additional streams,” she said.
To address the shortage, the commission says it has consulted the National Treasury and the government has set aside Sh2 billion for employment of additional 5,000 teachers.
Dr Macharia said that last year some 8,700 teachers were employed to support staffing requirements for the 100 per cent transition while 5,000 others were recruited in February.
“To further mitigate the shortage, the government has set aside funds for employment of an additional teachers and another Sh1.2 billion for an extra 3,000 teachers this year,” added the TSC boss.
The vacancies will be advertised in the next two weeks. Dr Macharia said priority will be given to schools with the biggest shortage.
Meanwhile, the TSC is reviewing its approach to staffing in schools for optimum use of its employees.
Dr Macharia said the commission is undertaking a study to develop new staffing norms for basic education institutions, secondary schools, teacher training colleges and technical training institutions.
The new staffing norms will guide the TSC in making decisions on distribution, deployment, assignment and recruitment of teachers.
The TSC says that the transition drive and the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) calls for a review in approach to staffing.
“The government will be required to set aside additional resources to recruit more teachers for the 100 per cent transition and the CBC.
"The new staffing norms will respond adequately to the anticipated new staffing needs and enable TSC to advise the government on the optimum number of teachers required to meet the staffing needs of public schools in the country,” she added.
The TSC is working in liaison with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) on teacher projection in regard to the CBC and subjects that have been newly introduced.
The TSC boss told teachers to respect the role of principals in effective curriculum implementation.
Dr Macharia said heads of institution and teachers must be present in school at all times.
Dr Macharia said all non-core activities such as sacco, unions, heads association and co-operatives meetings must be held during weekends and school holidays.
The TSC boss said there has been unnecessary conflict affecting a small number of teachers on performance of duty.
“Don’t allow yourselves to be misled to disobey lawful instructions from your employer. It is very unreasonable to expect to be paid by an employer and at the same time take instructions on performance of duty from another person,” Dr Macharia said.
She said that taking disciplinary action against an employee is an unfortunate but necessary action.
“It also pains us when people wrongly accuse us of vendetta against our own employees. I wish to restate that teachers in public learning institutions are paid through public resources and the public expects returns from their investment in teachers,” the TSC head said.
Teachers were asked to access the TSC website and download Circular No 1/2017 for their reference.
Dr Macharia said that the TSC recently carried out a standards and quality assessment on sampled schools and found that some principals do not prepare monthly trial balances as per financial management requirements.
Other principals have allowed the accumulation of debts to the extent that some schools are threatened with court cases.
“Plan and budget for available resources and avoid incurring debts, as this leads to unnecessary and expensive litigation. Procurement regulations should also be followed to the letter,” Dr Macharia said.