The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is staring at a crisis after it emerged that about 25,000 teachers will retire over two years.
The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Teachers (Kuppet) revealed on Wednesday that half of these tutors are above 59 years and therefore due for retirement in June.
This comes amid a staffing gap of 26,804 instructors following government’s policy on 100 percent transition from primary to secondary school that raised student population.
“Our finding is that as of November 2020, the teaching service has 25,000 teachers aged 58 and above…meaning Kenya is facing a deep teacher shortage that calls for radical measures to address,” said Kuppet secretary general Akello Misori.
The TSC said it would require Sh17 billion to hire 12,000 tutors ahead of the January 4 school reopening.
The teachers’ employer requires additional teachers on top of the 332,000 currently employed to handle learners in smaller groups amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Learners are expected to sit in small groups, meaning what used to be a single class may be broken into two or three extra streams.
The Ministry of Education is insisting on 25 learners per class against the current average of 60, in a move to implement social distancing to combat spread of Covid-19.
TSC has only employed 23,700 teachers since 2017, against a target of 50,504.
“We call for urgent plans for the hiring of at least 50,000 teachers over the next one year and at least 15,000 per year between 2021 and 2026,” said Mr Misori. The commission’s target has not been met due to inadequate budgetary provision.
The Treasury allocated the TSC Sh3.2 billion for teacher recruitment in the year starting July despite a request of Sh20.2 billion hurting its plans of increasing teacher numbers.
More teachers are required under the government’s 100 percent transition from primary school even as government admitted that achieving social distancing in schools remains a challenge.
Early this year, the Ministry of Education announced it had attained a 99.8 percent transition target for the 2019 KCPE candidates joining Form One.
In October last year, a total of 102,918 trained but jobless teachers applied for the 10,300 internship positions the TSC advertised.
The huge recruitment drive is a desperate shot at easing a severe shortage in the basic education sector, now at more than 100,000.