Private primary schools are struggling to get teachers who will teach junior secondary Grade 7 class when schools reopen later this month.
The biggest headache for the schools is not only getting the teachers but also in paying them.
According to Teachers Service Commission (TSC) only teachers with qualifications to teach secondary schools are allowed to teach junior secondary schools.
This means the schools can only hire registered teachers with Diploma and Degree certificates in secondary option.
Unlike P1 teachers, secondary school teachers demand huge salaries. Some private schools in remote areas pay PTE teachers even sh 5,000 as salaries.
However secondary school teachers are paid better salaries than most of their primary school colleagues. Many earn at least sh 10,000 as salaries even in remotest secondary schools.
The government has also complicated the issue by failing to issue on time the fee structure for junior secondary school.
Presidential Working Party on Education Reform (PWPER) already said Junior secondary schools i.e Grade 7, Grade 8 and Grade 9 will be domiciled in the existing primary schools.
But details show many private primary schools are not ready for the January junior secondary Grade 7 class. There are at least 10,000 private primary schools in Kenya.
Besides hiring teachers the schools are also required to provide a fully equipped laboratory for the science subjects.
Some private schools however have started to advertise for teaching vacancies for junior secondary school section.
On the other hand public primary schools got a boost after TSC advertised recruitment vacancies for junior secondary.
So far TSC is recruiting 30,550 teachers for junior secondary school which starts in January 2023.
Of these 9,000 posts are for permanent and pensionable terms of service for secondary school teachers who will be posted to Junior Secondary Schools.
Another 21,550 posts went to recruitment of teacher interns in Junior Secondary Schools. The teachers will be posted before schools reopen on 23rd January.
The Commission will also use primary school teachers with Diploma and Degree in secondary option to help in teaching junior secondary school.
The teachers will be retooled and get deployed to junior secondary domiciled in their current working station. At least 17,000 primary school teachers qualify to teach Grade 7, 8 and 9 classes.
When TSC chairperson Mr Jamleck Muturi and TSC head of legal affairs Mr Calvin Anyuor appeared before the Education and Research Committee of the National Assembly they said they have a plan to deploy primary school teachers to teach in junior high.
Mr Anyuor, who was representing TSC CEO Dr. Nancy Macharia, said the process to deploy P1 teachers with Diploma and Degree certificates to teach Grade 7 class in January has already started.
“We are currently mapping those teachers and shortly we’ll get the numbers right,” said Anyuor.
Muturi said this seeks to ensure all schools have sufficient number of teachers.
“TSC will redistribute teachers who are in primary school who have qualified to teach in junior secondary,” he said.
Anyuor told MPs there are 30,550 public Grade 7 classes in the country. TSC has allocated one teacher for every class beginning January.
“If the county has 1,000 classes we have allocated 1,000 teachers,” he said.
Anyuor said the number of teacher’s is based on budget allocation by treasury. TSC chair Jamleck Muturi said the commission will retool primary school teachers.
PWPER said an extra classroom and laboratory will be built in every primary school. The taskforce said the construction of the laboratories will be given priority within this year.