The government recently announced the recruitment of 5,000 teachers in public primary and secondary schools.
This is a drop in the ocean, however, considering the shortage of 87,000 teachers.
I used to dismiss this figure as an exaggeration by the trade unions until I realised that it was, actually, from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
I have never quite understood why the government reduced the number of teachers it was to be hiring from the initial 10,000 a year.
Instead, despite President Uhuru Kenyatta claiming that the country had surpassed the international threshold for police officers, this year, the government has drafted 10,000 recruits.
The President put the status at one police officer for 390 citizens — against the United Nations-recommended 1:450.
Research shows the more educated people are, the lower the crime rate.
It, therefore, baffles me to see the government continue hiring police officers at the expense of teachers and other professionals.
This has highly demotivated teachers, who have to wait for donkey years for a government job as they toil in private schools, where they are paid peanuts.
I know a school with 156 applications for one History/CRE teacher vacancy.
Some teachers who graduated in 2007 are yet to secure a TSC job yet police officers, some barely out of their teens, get into the payroll once they land in college.
The justification for this lopsided hiring has always been the terrorism threat, especially from Al-Shabaab.
But this does not augur well when other sectors are ignored.
The doctors’ union says there is a shortage of 83,442 doctors, with 3,956 serving more than 42 million Kenyans, or 1:10,000 — against the World Health Organization-recommended 1:1,000.
Nurses, too, have a huge deficit, of 45,000, according to Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) chairman Philip Kaloki.
What really is the priority of this government?
KINGORI WA GITAHI, Tharaka-Nithi.
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Jubilee Party has promised free secondary education in January, while Nasa went one up and pledged to do the same in September.
Is it really possible? Consider this: 1. Infrastructure: Thousands will flock to the schools because many dropped out over fees.
So, there must be refurbishing or building of classrooms and dormitories, laboratories;
2. Teachers: Unions are fighting daily for the hiring of more teachers but the government has no money;
3. Funds: There are over 3,200 public schools with 2,500 students each paying Sh53,000 yearly for boarders and Sh9,000 for day scholars in 500 day schools, bringing the total to Sh100 billion.
Even the Education ministry officers know it’s not possible to have free education so soon.
P R GITHINJI, Kajiado.
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It is wrong for TSC to announce the hiring of 5,000 teachers yet those retired many years ago have not been paid their pension. How will it pay the new teachers?
JOY MUTUA, via email.
Public needs to be told the truth about nurses’ strike
As Kenyans continue to suffer across the country due to the ongoing nurses’ strike, something is not coming out clearly.
The Kenya National Union of Nurses and the Council of Governors (CoG) are changing goal posts every day.
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission, which is chaired by Ms Sarah Serem, has now been drawn into this circus.
Since last year, the public has been told that nurses and the CoG reached an agreement that paved the way for resumption of duty by the health workers.
It now appears somebody is playing games here.
The salaries team should come out and tell the nation candidly who between the nurses and the CoG is saying it as it is.
If the Serem team was never involved when the counties struck a deal with the nurses, how then will it be implemented?
Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, on behalf of the CoG Health Committee, is laying the blame squarely on the commission.
The two feuding parties know very well the role the salaries team plays when it comes to salaries negotiations and payments.
Telling us this very late in the day that a deal was struck and it now cannot be implemented is putting the cart before the horse.
DAVID M KIGO, Nairobi.