Thousands of university students aspiring to become teachers are in for a rude shock after the employer moved to scrap the Bachelor of Education programme in universities starting September.
The move follows proposals by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that include far-reaching reforms touching on the training of teachers in universities and colleges.
In the document dubbed “Framework on Entry Requirements in the Teaching Service,” TSC argues the case for reviewing the teacher training course at the university level to provide that aspiring teachers first undertake a four-year bachelors’ degree course in either Arts or Sciences before undertaking a one-year post-graduate specializing in education.
TSC argues that the move would put the teaching profession at par with other disciplines such as law and medicine.
“For Bachelor of Education, the course takes four years without any requirement for attachment or internship. No requirement for annual renewal of registration,” said TSC.
TSC contends that currently, the Bachelor of Education programme only takes four years unlike other elite courses such as Law, which takes four and a further one-year professional training at Kenya School of Law.
The teachers employer has recommended that the minimum qualification for entry into teaching in Kenya at all levels be a Diploma in Education.
“Admission into all the diplomas and degrees in teacher education courses shall be demand-driven. The Diploma in Education courses for CBC students at each level shall be three years after senior school since they will have had time for specialization in the content areas,” TSC recommended.
But the proposal has already received opposition from lecturers, who termed the reforms as ill-informed.
University Academic Staff Union (UASU) yesterday accused TSC of making decisions without consultation and then sneaking in what they termed as unacceptable ideas to make the teaching profession look like an ‘afterthought’.
Uasu-KU Chapter Vice Chairperson Wilfridah Itolondo led other officials from the institution in condemning the TSC document.
“The union will reject the document because what the TSC wants to do is to scrap Bachelor of Education programme so that all students are just admitted for Bachelor of Arts or Science.
“It was done without consultation,” said ltolondo, in a press conference yesterday in Nairobi.
Uasu stated that a degree programme cannot be changed if it is not based on scientific research, saying TSC should explain the problem with the programme at the moment.
“If there is something wrong with the programme the best thing to do is to propose to improve it, not to scrap it. TSC is trying to sneak in the idea and that is wrong because you are making it look like becoming a teacher is an afterthought,” said Itolondo.
They also said that TSC istrying to compare Bachelor of Education with other courses like Medicine or Law.
“When people go for Bachelor of Medicine, they start as doctors from the first year up to the end, you do not become a medic when you are in fourth year, it is the same in Law or Architecture. Students are supposed to go with their line of profession from the very beginning, “they said.
The lecturers said the practice was tried before but it did not work adding that the contention is that they were caught by surprise.
“TSC says they want to implement in September this year and that is why we have come out to resist that because alreadythere are people out there with Bachelor of Arts degree and still unemployed,” Itolondo added.
The teachers employer also recommended that there be a Postgraduate Diploma in Teacher Education to cater for Teacher Education learning areas, in preparing teacher educators who will be training the pre-service teachers at the Teacher Training Colleges.
TSC wants the proposal implemented beginning September 2021.
The B.Ed degree has existed as the basic training course for teachers in Kenya since 1972.
The teachers’ employer gave C+ (plus) as the minimum entry grade for those who want to train as teachers and a minimum of B-(minus) in three teaching subjects.