More than 300,000 trained teachers are jobless as schools grapple with a shortage of about 96,000, a new report shows.
The study says the country has 328,324 trained and registered teachers who are not in government service.
The figures from the report by the Teachers Service Commission add an ironic twist to the crisis which has hit basic education, with primary schools which have about 10 million pupils being short of 38,054 tutors.
Secondary schools, with around 2.8 million students, have vacancies for 58,291 teachers.
The institutions are especially hard hit following a huge enrolment surge driven by the government’s campaign to achieve a 100 per cent transition from primary school.
The report says in the last four months, some 9,472 women and 6,950 men applied for government teaching positions but were not hired.
Kakamega County recorded the highest number of applications with 963, followed by Bungoma with 950, Kisii (949) and Siaya (605). Counties with the lowest number of applicants are Garissa with 19, Wajir (21), Turkana (34) and Tana River (35).
A majority of applicants were those with a Bachelor of Education degree, standing at 6,872, while those with diplomas were 1,596. Certificate holders seeking jobs in primary and pre-school schools were 5,686.
Overall, counties with the highest number of unemployed teachers are Bungoma with 12,697, Nakuru (12,675), Kisii (12,233) and Kitui (12,506).
Notably, marginalised areas, which have been hardest hit by the staffing shortage because of an exodus of non-local teachers, have significant numbers. Wajir has 1,731, Tana River (1,609), Garissa (1,338) and Mandera (1,717).
Last year, immediate former Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed lowered primary teachers training college entry grades from C to D+ and C+ to C- for diploma colleges for students from marginalised regions but the order was overturned by the High Court early this year.
In lowering the grades, Ms Mohamed hoped a big number of students from the areas would enrol for teaching courses.
The government this year gave the TSC Sh3.2 billion to recruit more teachers but this will likely carter for about 5,000 against an annual demand of 12,626.
The commission in its latest five-year strategic plan says it requires Sh82 billion for recruitment of teachers. This, it says, would enable it address the shortage in schools that is expected to rise to 120,000 by 2023.
On average, it will require Sh16.4 billion annually to employ teachers.
Besides the government’s push for the 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school, natural attrition has taken a heavy toll on the teaching force.