There is hope for thousands of unemployed teachers following revelations that talks are going on between the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the Presidency on the possibility of recruiting 58,000 in the current financial year.
If it comes to pass, the recruitment would be in line with President William Ruto’s campaign promise that, if elected, his government would employ 116,000 teachers in two years to bridge the current shortage in public schools.
It would be the single largest recruitment of teachers ever and would push the number of teachers on the government payroll to 400,000.
The revelation was made yesterday by TSC boss Nancy Macharia during celebrations to mark World Teachers Day at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi.
She, however, did not provide the timelines for the recruitment.
“Consultations are ongoing with the Presidency on teacher recruitment and we shall be giving (updates of the) progress as we go along. Be assured that the Kenyan teacher can only expect good things going forward. We shall be telling you how to go on with this recruitment as per the Kenya Kwanza Charter,” Dr Macharia said.
In the education charter signed with stakeholders in the education sector in June, Dr Ruto committed to “ensure that the current teacher shortage of 116,000 is fully bridged within two financial years by employing 58,000 teachers at a cost of Sh25 billion per year”.
The plight of unemployed teachers was a key campaign issue.
Earlier during yesterday’s event, Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) chairperson Indimuli Kahi challenged the President to fulfil his promise.
Mr Kahi added that public schools were grossly understaffed and that boards of management had had to hire teachers for the affected subjects.
“The President gave me a signed copy of that charter. I’d like to remind him that he promised to employ half of the shortfall in his first financial year,” he added.
Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers secretary-general Akello Misori also called for a solution to the staffing crisis in schools.
During the last recruitment in July, more than 356,000 jobless teachers applied for the 14,460 vacancies that had been advertised by the TSC.
Post-primary teaching vacancies attracted the highest number of applicants, with 219,311 teachers expressing interest in the 4,000 declared vacancies.
Of the 1,000 new vacancies advertised for primary school teachers, the commission received 136,833 applications.
Mr Kahi and Mr Misori also asked the government to provide a safe environment for teachers to work in, noting that insecurity had forced teachers to stay away from such regions.
On curriculum reforms, Dr Macharia thanked the President for appointing eight classroom teachers to the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms. The team was appointed last week.
The teachers are Mr Anthony Cheruiyot Sitienei, Dr Margaret Chege, Mr Peter Tabichi, Ms Jane Kimiti, Ms Jacinta Ngure, Mr Bernard Kariuki Njoroge, Ms Virginia Wahome and Ms Salome Eyangan. The TSC secretariat is represented by Dr Reuben Nthamburi, who is the director of quality assurance.
“I urge all teachers and officials of teacher associations and unions to make presentations to ensure that our country’s education sector remains on the right trajectory. The commission is fully prepared to comply with the recommendations of the Working Party as would be directed by the Head of State,” Dr Macharia said.
Mr Kahi said Kessha would give its views and advice to the Presidential Working Party.
“The voice of the teacher will be important. We’ll not shy away. CBC is the only way we can turn around the pyramid so that the base is at the top,” he said, adding that parents need to consider enrolling their children in day junior secondary schools.
He argued that the clamour for top boarding schools had led to congestion in those institutions.
During the event, more than 300 teachers were recognised for exemplary performance in teaching and management.