, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has raised objection to the fresh recruitment of teachers by the government, saying the number is not sufficient to address the current shortage.
The government has advertised for the recruitment of 2,700 teachers for deployment to schools facing an acute shortfall. But KNUT Secretary General Lawrence Majali objected to the number, saying that the current teacher-student ratio is unproportional and this could lead to poor quality education.
“Where the government does not want to understand and they are burying their head in the sand is that the shortages in our schools are glaring,” Mr Majali said.
“You will find a teacher in the primary school sector handling 120 students. Even if the teacher were an angel, he cannot manage that number,” he protested.
Mr Majali added that this results in schools producing students who are not qualified to enter colleges and universities.
“The teachers are overworked, the workload is too heavy, and the children are not getting enough tutorials because the teachers cannot cope,” he said.
Education Minister Sam Ongeri explained that limited budgetary allocation to employ more teachers was to blame for the shortage. He said that the money allocated to the ministry by Treasury was insufficient to meet the needs of all teachers in the country.
He however drew attention to the fact that the ministry was seeking alternative means to provide quality education to students.
“Because of the ceiling that we have in the budgetary provisions, it is not feasible to be able to accommodate the entire teaching fraternity in one circle of the financial system,” he said.
“It is therefore important that we create a programme that at the end of four to five years will be able to cover the deficit. That had not been possible.”
The Minister stressed the need for all school heads to be ICT compliant
“It is important that you know what you are managing. Without knowing that, then it becomes difficult to fulfill the aspirations of the educational programes and the spirit of the educational programes,” he said.
Prof Ongeri noted that at the moment there was a shortage of 65,000 teachers in primary and secondary schools and confessed that it was a serious challenge to education standards in the country.
The minister said that in primary schools, there was a shortage of 42,000 while in secondary institutions the shortage had reached 23,000.