The government will employ at least 20,000 teachers to help in handling Grade 9 learners in 2025.
Making the announcement in Bungoma, the Education Cabinet Secretary, Ezekiel Machogu, also said the current Grade 8 learners will transition to Grade 9 inside primary schools.
He said the government has already allocated all constituencies across the country a conditional grant of Sh3.4 billion towards the construction of 6,000 classrooms by the end of the year.
This is a joint venture between the national government and the National Government-Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).
The World Bank has granted the government Sh9 billion for the construction of additional 9,000 classrooms to bring the total number of classrooms to be put up by the end of the year to 15,015 by the end of the year.
“We are on top of things and everything is moving in the right direction and there is nothing to worry about,” Machogu said.
He said that while the curriculum for the Grade 9 learners has already been prepared by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), the process to prepare learning materials is in progress .
“We expect the learning materials to be completed by July this year and distributed to schools. Already we are through with the curriculum designs,” the CS disclosed.
Machogu refuted viral claims that the Grade 9 class will be moved to secondary school next year.
The CS denied claims that he has directed the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) to develop the Kenya Primary Placement Examination (KEPPE), a Grade 8 exam to be used for placing learners to Grade 9.
According to the reports which have since been flagged as false, the new examination was to be rolled out by November this year.
In its response, the CS maintained nothing has changed and the status quo would remain.
The fake circular also claimed that the State was working towards shifting Grade 9 under the competency-based curriculum to secondary school.
The change was expected to affect Junior Secondary School teachers who are anchored in primary schools by moving them to high schools to handle grades 9, 10, 11, and 12.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has admitted that junior secondary schools are grappling with severe teacher shortages.
During the release of KCSE results, TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia revealed that the schools require 99,045 teachers against the current number of 56,928.
The addition of a Grade 8 class has increased the shortage to 42,117 teachers.
During the Taxpayers Day celebrations in Mombasa President William Ruto confirmed that the government will allocate Sh19.7 billion to the TSC to recruit more teachers.
The funds were later made available under the supplementary budget approved by the National Assembly.
“Our budget to TSC has increased by Sh20 billion because we are hiring additional teachers. Some 56,000 additional teachers are on our payroll this year,” Ruto said.
Over the past year, the Kenya Kwanza administration has made commendable strides in tackling the teachers shortage, having employed 35,790 new teachers.
Notably, 1,000 of these were recruited on permanent and pensionable terms for primary schools while 3,986 interns joined the primary school system.
Moreover, an impressive 9,000 teachers were hired on permanent and pensionable terms for junior secondary schools, and an additional 21,365 were recruited as intern teachers for junior schools.
The recruitment drive is a departure from the previous administration’s approach, which hired approximately 5,000 teachers annually.
In July President Ruto said: “For the first time, the government has employed 35,000 teachers this year, a number unprecedented in recent history. By August, we aim to recruit an additional 25,000 teachers, ensuring that every child in Kenya has access to quality education.”
TSC is currently planning recruitment of teachers to handle the Grade 8 learners who have since reported to schools.