Public teacher training colleges are grossly under-enrolled while some private ones have closed down as they feel the effect of the higher entry grades introduced in 2021, putting the future of mid level teacher training is in jeopardy.
Official data shows that the 34 public primary teacher training colleges (TTCs) have only 3,922 students against a capacity 26,650.
This is only 14.7 per cent of their capacity. The situation is so dire that in some cases, the number of tutors is the same as that of the students.
Mwingi TTC, for example, has a total of 45 students who are taught by 43 tutors. The colleges are now focusing on attracting teachers who wish to upgrade their qualifications.
According to the data, a possible 22,728 students (85.3 per cent) have been unable to access training since the government raised the entry mark for a diploma in primary teacher education (DPTE) to a minimum of a C in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.
Students are also required to have a C grade in all the cluster subjects and the same in English and Kiswahili, mathematics, any humanities subject and any science subject, a combination that has proved had to strike.
Most of the students with such combinations usually opt for training in other fields.
DPTE has been set as the minimum qualification to teach in primary schools as the government phases out the certificate in teacher education, commonly known as P1.
The last P1 cohort graduated at the end of November 2020. This is aimed at improving the quality of teaching in primary schools.
Unlike for P1, where teacher trainees took all subjects, in the diploma course, they will specialise in three subjects in their area of interest and qualification. The students choose subjects from any of four clusters.
Cluster one subjects are Kenya Sign Language, indigenous languages, foreign languages (German, French, Arabic and Mandarin (Chinese).
Cluster has mathematics, home science, agriculture and science and technology, while cluster three has social studies and religious education. Cluster Four subjects are art and craft and music.
All trainees are required to study English, Kiswahili, physical and health education and Kenya Sign Language for the hearing impaired, which are now mandatory subjects.
The training is designed to take three years and is aligned to the competency-based curriculum.
Enrolment for diploma in secondary teacher education (DSTE) is also quite low at only 1,293 (36 per cent) against a capacity of 3,600 students at the three public colleges offering the programme. This implies that a capacity of 2,307 at the colleges is lying idle.
The entry grade for DSTE for both the science and arts option is KCSE mean grade C+, which is the same as the entry requirement for a bachelor’s degree. Many students therefore choose to study teacher education at the university.
Reforms in teacher education forms part of the terms of reference of The Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms.
During its public hearings, the team received 722 submissions responding to pre-service teacher training, with nearly half of the submissions (48.48 per cent) suggesting lowering the entry grade requirement for admission into the teaching profession.