Primary school teachers now say they are ready to teach junior secondary school learners if Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will give them promotions and better their salaries.
This comes as details emerge that TSC was prepared for junior secondary domiciled inside secondary schools and not primary schools.
Infact TSC trained 60,000 secondary school teachers in April last year to prepare them to handle junior secondary Grade 7, 8 and 9 learners from January.
So far TSC has recruited 30,000 teachers to handle the 1.26 million junior secondary Grade 7 learners.
However the teachers are yet to be posted as the Commission is yet to finalize the recruitment process. This poses another challenge to schools on who will manage the learners as they report this week.
And even if the teachers get posted they will not be enough to handle the many subjects being offered in Grade 7.
Around 27,000 public junior secondary schools were approved by the ministry of education. Some schools have several streams of Grade 7 classes. This further complicates the teacher:student ratio.
Though TSC has sought to deploy primary school teachers with Degree and Diploma in Secondary oprion to junior secondary, this is just a drop in the ocean.
Many PTE teachers have Degree and Diploma certificates but not in secondary option. Those with Diploma and Degree secondary option many lack KCSE mean grade C+(plus) and grade C+ (plus) in the two teaching subjects as required by TSC.
This means TSC will get a very small number from primary school to deploy to junior secondary school if it continues to stick to its deployment requirements.
The Commission has given P1 teachers meeting the requirements for deployment to junior secondary to apply online by 6th February 2023.
However the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has warned primary school teachers against taking teaching burden in junior secondary without being officially deployed by TSC.
PTE teachers are best suited to handle Grade 7 learners because they were trained to handle technical subjects in Teachers Training Colleges (TTC).
They are trained to handle subjects like Art and Craft, Music, and Home Science which are offered in junior secondary curriculum.
But amidst the challenges, the government has directed head teachers to make do with the available resources and infrastructure as they admit the learners.
And as per Education ministry’s guidelines on junior secondary, learners will be taught nine lessons per day for five days (45 per week) with each lesson allocated 40 minutes, an indication that more teachers will be required. Primary school teachers allocate 35 minutes per lesson.
Amidst this, questions have also emerged over the TSC requirement for teachers to have two teaching optional subjects besides the two subjects they are qualified in.
Teachers say the requirement will lead to majority of them being forced to teach subjects they neither learnt nor qualified in.
Stakeholders also question how teachers in junior secondary will teach some of the pre-technical subjects such as woodwork, performing arts, computers and electrical, among others, that they have least knowledge. Pre-technical studies are supposed to be allocated two double lessons per week.
And whereas junior secondary will be domiciled in primary schools, the Ministry of Education is yet to clear the air on whether the learners will fall under the primary, secondary or college category in co-curricular activities such as sports, drama and music.
And even as learners keep on reporting, the government is yet to release capitation to schools, leaving head teachers in a quandary over how they will raise funds for daily operations. Reports also indicate that some schools are forcing parents to part with admission fee.
Primary schools that will host junior secondary are expected to benefit from a Sh9.6 billion cash injection comprising Sh15,000 for each learner with Sh4,000 going to infrastructure development.
Though the government has dispatched books worth sh 3.2 billion to public junor secondary schools, most schools have received books for only one subject for example English.
The government however said the books are composed of more than 17 million textbooks in all learning areas and over 400,000 teachers’ guides.