, NAIROBI, Kenya May 24 – According to a survey conducted by Twaweza East Africa, 22 percent of the parents polled ranked teachers shortages as the top challenge arising from making education free.
This was followed closely by poor teachers performance and high number of pupils at 20 percent and 16 percent respectively.
The survey which was carried out in 47 counties between October and November 2017, also identified inadequate government funding, shortage of classrooms and lack of books as the other challenges rating them at 13 percent, 5 percent and 4 percent respectively.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Education Committee earlier this year, Teachers Service Commission Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia, said that the teachers shortages in public schools stood at 104,821, comprising 40,972 for primary and 63,849 for secondary schools.
While presenting the survey, Twaweza East Africa Senior Programs Manager Victor Rateng said that although the government was in the process of increasing the teachers to students ratio, re- distribution of teachers especially in the hardship regions in the country needed to be effected.
“It is not a question of the teachers numbers in the country but rather how the teachers are distributed in the country. For example, the security problem in Northern Kenya that has led to redistribution of teachers in the area and this has in turn affected the number of teachers working in the region.”
“No one wants to work in an area where their life is under threat. From what we see, it is an issue on distribution and more so to ensure that the ratio is fairly distributed countrywide,” he explained.
The survey also indicated that six out of ten of those polled had no idea about the current changes in the education curriculum.
Of the 28 percent who were aware of the curriculum changes in schools only three percent were aware of tuition bans with 10 percent of the responses on curriculum change been incorrect.
Rateng noted that there was need for the government and in particular the the Education Ministry to embark on public education on the new curriculum and further said that education played a key role in the realization of the country’s big four agenda.
“Fifty eight percent of the population said they have no idea about the new curriculum and these are Kenyans not Ugandans or Ethiopians. The Ministry of Education should educate the citizens on education. This also entails the County Representatives, let them also take the initiative of educating the public,” he said.
The new curriculum 2-6-6-3 implementation started in 2017 with its implementation set to be in phases. The curriculum will replace the 8-4-4 system that has been in existence since 1985.
The roll out of the second phase piloting for the 2-6-6-3 system, was initiated this year and is set to be implemented in 33,000 schools. The gradual process of phasing out 8-4-4 system is expected to be complete by 2027.