Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition flagbearer Raila Odinga has pledged to lower entry grades for teacher trainees in the northern counties to address a huge shortage of tutors in the region.
Speaking in Habaswein township, Wajir County, Mr Odinga said his government will use affirmative action to ensure the area has adequate teachers.
“Because of the lack of teachers due to insecurity, we will ensure the youth here can go to teacher training schools even with Grade E,” he said.
An earlier push to lower entry grades for teachers from marginalised counties was rejected by the government. There has been an exodus of non-local teachers from Wajir, Mandera and Garissa due to insecurity.
Mr Odinga said training of more local tutors would help bridge the gap.
“From September, all trained teachers and who are yet to be employed shall all be hired. Insecurity has cost this region but affirmative action shall help correct all that,” he said.
In 2014, Al-Shabaab militants hijacked a bus in Mandera, commandeered it towards Somalia and killed at least 28 passengers, most of whom were teachers who were heading to Nairobi for December holidays.
Mr Odinga, who was accompanied by his running mate Martha Karua and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, also promised free education from nursery to university.
“After their education, our youths will get quality jobs; not pushing wheelbarrows,” he said.
Early this month the Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga made a similar promise that he will employ all unemployed teachers to help in curriculum implementation in schools.
Speaking during a colourful evening event at Nyayo Stadium where he unveiled his manifesto, Odinga said no child shall be left behind when he takes power.
Captured in agenda number 8 in his ten point agenda manifesto, Odinga promises to revamp education in north eastern region parts of Kenya.
“Education is non-negotiable. The AZIMIO programme will be an aggressive scheme to ensure that all, not some of our children, get rightful access to quality education,” reads Azimio’s agenda 8 dubbed ‘Waste not a Single Child’.
There are at least 350,000 unemployed teachers. Some with more than ten years in the cold. This latest announcement brings hope to such teachers.
Raila says he will employ all the unemployed qualified teachers once he become the fifth president in August this year.
“No child shall be left behind. We commit to employ all qualified teachers who are currently unemployed,” says Raila in his manifesto.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has been employing 10,000 teachers yearly. This number is too small compared to the huge number of teachers seeking employment.
Out of these 5,000 are employed on permanent terms to replace those who have left the service while 6,000 are recruited on a one year internship plan.
During the release of 2021 KCSE results TSC CEO Dr Nancy Macharia said the Commission has been allocated a total of sh 3.7 billion for recruitment of teachers this year.
“Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani allocated TSC Sh2.5 billion for the recruitment of 5,000 teachers on permanent terms in the next financial year,” said Macharia.
She added that another Sh1.2 billion was allocated in the Financial Year 2022/2023, to recruit 6,000 interns as a stop-gap measure to ease the shortage.
The Commission will advertise for recruitment of teachers when it gets the funds in July this year.
Raila Odinga in his manifesto also promised free education from nursery through college, university and skills training.
Odinga said he will ensure every child has access to education through his ambitions free ‘Waste No Child’ programme.
It will also cover students in college, university and vocational training institutions.
“We will provide free education from ECD, primary and secondary to university including tertiary colleges,” Raila said.
Under the programme, the Azimio leader said, children attending Early Childhood Development classes and lower primary will be entitled to one nutritious free meal. The manifesto did not not state the frequency.
Currently, the government is implementing free universal primary education and subsidised secondary learning.
“This manifesto embodies the hopes and aspirations of our people, and outlines how they would like the business of government to be transacted on their behalf,” Raila said.
The ODM boss will be making a fifth stab at the presidency after unsuccessful bids in 1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017.