A government agency has proposed radical changes to address deteriorating education standards in the northeastern region, key among them the recruitment of 1,200 curriculum assistants.
According to the National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya, the assistants (untrained teachers) will be paid a total of Sh181 million per year.
The agency said that the assistants would support both primary and secondary teachers in Garissa, Wajir and Mandera counties, which are grappling with acute shortages. Statistics indicate that more than 2,000 non-local teachers have left the region since 2015 due to fears over terrorist attacks.
“The government is to allocate funds for the employment of curriculum assistants, who will be offered school-based teacher training as was agreed in 2015. The government will continuously recruit and deploy local teachers graduating from colleges and universities,” said agency CEO Harun Yusuf.
It is also recommending policy change in the entry level of learners from C+ to C for diploma teacher training colleges, and C to D+ for primary teacher training colleges.
Mr Yusuf said the government should consider recruiting retired teachers and those who left the service regardless of their place of origin, and are below 65 years.
“The government will deploy all primary schoolteachers with the required teaching subject combination to secondary schools and have them upgraded. In order to attract and retain teachers in the frontier counties’ development council, the government should introduce risk allowance,” said Mr Yusuf.
He was speaking during a two-day forum in Garissa.
Mr Yusuf said that to curb the exodus of teachers, those who have applied for the advertised positions be recruited on a three-year contract.
“The Ministry of Education should improve the status of boarding primary schools in the three counties by rehabilitating infrastructure and increasing the capitation per child.”
Lack of enough teachers in has been blamed for poor results in national exams.
In order to attain sufficient and sustainable staffing levels for all schools in the region, Mr Yusuf said the ministry should increase the quarterly system to teacher training colleges to 200 teachers students per county in the next five years.
“The government should develop a security and induction protocol for newly recruited teachers in the frontier counties development council (FCDC),” he added.
During the meeting that brought together professionals from the three counties, it was resolved that Ministry of Education make a deliberate effort through a Kenya gazette notice to operationalize the Kenya national qualification framework (KNQF) regulations for mobility and progression of learners within Education, training and career paths.
It was also agreed that Kenya Secondary schools heads association (Kessha) should carry out campaigns in all secondary schools to mentor students to choose teaching as a profession.
The association should also identify students whose career is teaching so they can get bursaries for further studies, sensitise the boards of management (BoM) to support teach first campaign, encourage form four leavers to volunteer as intern teachers in their schools or neighbourhood school and form teach First Clubs in schools if possible.
Statistics indicate that over 2,000 non local teachers have left the region since 2015 and government efforts to replace them have been unsuccessful since the replacements are short lived.
Current total there is shortfall of 4,727 teachers both for primary and secondary, primary schools need 3,311while secondary schools need 1,416 teachers.
Lack of enough teachers in the region has been for poor results in national examinations. For instance last year no student scored an A in KCSE, only four scored A-, 19 had B+ while 53 had B.
The data further indicate that 17,377 students sat for KCSE In the years 2016 and 2017 in which 706 obtained grade C+ and above,744 had C (plain),1558 c- (Minus) and 14,369 obtained D+ and below.