A large number of new teachers are leaving the profession within their first three to five years, their employer has said.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) chairperson Lydia Nzomo said the new teachers are exiting the profession because of a lack of support from administrators, colleagues, students and parents.
“A teacher who is well inducted and supported is likely to be greatly motivated and offer quality teaching. It is the responsibility of every principal to ensure there is an effective induction programme for new teachers. The new teachers, and even the not so new should be constantly reminded of the rules of the game e.g. protection of the learners from all types of abuse, physical, emotional, psychological and sexual,” said Dr Nzomo in a speech during the just ended head teachers conference in Mombasa.
According to TSC, about 44 teachers retire, die or resign daily putting a strain on the sector that is facing a shortage of about 100,000 tutors.
To stem the exodus, the commission is now replacing those exiting the service on a monthly basis.
TSC is also facing a shortage of teachers in specific subject combinations in humanities, Kiswahili, physics and computer studies.
“Further to this, the shortage of teachers for physics and computer studies has been occasioned by the mobility of these teachers to the private sector. All these have constrained effective delivery of the curricula and consequently led to poor performance by the students studying these subjects,” reads a report by TSC.
Ms Nzomo said experienced teachers can provide tremendous insight and encouragement to the inexperienced or struggling teachers.
“A school leader must develop veteran teachers who want to share best practices with other teachers. You also need to build a trusting, encouraging atmosphere in which the entire staff communicates, collaborates and shares with each other,” said the chairperson.
At the same time, skewed sharing of lessons amongst teachers poses threats to effective coverage of syllabus in public schools.
Coupled with the reality that schools are grappling with shortage of teachers, failure to balance the workload threatens to compromise educational standards.
Head teachers are required to equitably share out lessons without putting undue pressure on new recruited teachers.
New teachers have protested, claiming they are compelled to teach more lessons compared to their experienced colleagues.
The Ministry of Education’s latest report shows that some new teachers handle up to 40 lessons per week while their more experienced colleagues only have 10.
The report revealed the most disadvantaged lot are primary school teachers, who are also most affected by TSC decision to post tutors outside their home counties.
“The treatment here reminds me of the days in school when ‘monolisation’ (bullying) of Form Ones was real. We are treated as outsiders and assigned to teach far too many subjects compared to our colleagues who hail from the host counties,” said a teacher from a school in Kakamega County who cannot be named for fear of victimisation.
Ideally, it is only the head teacher, deputy and senior masters in schools who should have less lessons compared to other tutors because they have administrative roles.
Some teachers claim they need to rest and expect the new entrants to assist them with some of their workload.