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WILL A DEGREE FIX THE MESS IN OUR PRIMARY SCHOOLS?…OR SHOULD HEADS ENROLL?

The Teachers Service commission (TSC) announcement that it will soon only employ primary school head teachers who have a Bachelor’s Degree in Education has seen a good number of primary school teachers enroll in Universities in a bid to upgrade their skills and qualify for promotion.

The TSC chief executive Gabriel Lengoboin advised teachers seeking promotions to head primary schools to improve their academic status first for future consideration

However, many teachers have come out strongly to opposed the new directive and allege that the move will likely shut out those without degrees from promotion. The Kenya National Union of Teachers Isiolo branch executive secretary Dadhe Boru,

Said it is difficult to implement the policy in pastoralist’s areas where poverty is high adding that teachers in such areas have no money to further their education.

There are well over 20,000 Heads serving in public primary schools in the country and most of them are P1 holders.

This move comes as the public education sector continues to sink in the murk of poor performances, more pupils plus staff shortages, as well as lack of proper facilities just to mention a few.

Well if you ask me, a degree might attract more income and a status for the teachers in this case, but it might not necessarily be the solution to curb all these challenges facing the public education sector.

Much worse, as reported by the Standard on Wednesday, 20th July, is the recent report by the Uwezo Initiative, an NGO which indicated that seven out of every 10 lower primary school children lack competency to move to the next class.

Children in Kenya are graduating from primary schools without necessary reading and counting skills. Half of the children in class four cannot do class two work and one out of 10 children in Class Eight today cannot do Class Two level division. According to the organization’s Regional Manager Sara Ruto, teacher and pupil absenteeism contributed significantly to the deteriorating performance.

As the top manager of a school, the head teacher has the duty to make critical decisions governing the school management and it’s only logical to require that such a candidate be

well grounded in management matters in order to run the schools appropriately, but I don’t think a degree only is enough to guarantee performance or a tool to curb these challenges and should not be used to deny deserving experienced teachers Promotion

The move announced early last week however, of training teachers in education management is more viable; finally the ministry is waking up! About 26,000 teacher’s country wide will benefit from a 10 million shillings training programme in education management. The Kenya Education Staff Institute Director Wanjiru Kariuki, said heads will be encouraged to enroll for the Diploma programme which will impact on financial management, procurement and strategic planning among others.

The course will hopefully be rolled out from the August holidays and is expected to take 11 months. Speaking during the Kenya Primary School Heads Association in Mombasa, Education PS James ole Kiyiapi said the ministry is consulting with other players to ensure the training starts soon.

As the PS was quoted, “This is part of reforms in the Ministry of Education aimed at improving the running of schools.” The big question is, WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?

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