The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) urgently requires some Sh4 billion to replace about 8,000 teachers set to retire in two months. TSC report shows that the teachers will no longer be on the payroll after December 31, upon attaining the mandatory retirement age.
This means that the teachers’ employer will require more resources in addition to the Sh2.5 billion presently being used to hire new teachers across the country. TSC is hiring some 11,574 teachers. Of these are 5,000 new staff to help with the 100 per cent transition under the Sh2.5 billion budget.
The remaining 6,574 are being employed to replace those who exited teaching service due to natural attrition. Nancy Macharia, the TSC chief executive said the teachers being employed now will report in January. There are also fears that with the Covid-19, teachers who fall in the high-risk ages of 55 years and above, may require special management, with some expected to exit teaching.
Data from teachers’ unions show that there are some 50,000 teachers who fall under this delicate age bracket, and some may opt for early retirement. And with 8,000 teachers exiting the teaching service by December, it means that the government must act fast to to avert a crisis.
The exit of more teachers is likely to trigger a crisis in schools at a time when classrooms are being increased to allow for social distancing protocol under Covid-19.
Their retirement also means that some schools may miss crucial teachers expected to prepare candidates for national examinations scheduled for March, next year. According to schools re-opening schedule, the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates will sit exams from March 22, 2021
The three-day examinations will end on March 24, just a day to the start of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams that will last three weeks and three days. Marking of the two national exams will be done between April 19 and May 7.
Sources at TSC said 5,000 new teachers being hired now is a drop in the ocean compared to 103,481 teachers needed to plug the deficit. TSC had projected to employ some 40,000 intern teachers at a cost of Sh4.8 billion and another 25,000 new permanent and pensionable teachers at a cost of Sh15.4 billion.
The projections by TSC, however, seem to show that teachers’ numbers are still low and the workload is huge due to the massive enrolments in primary and secondary schools. Presently, there is a pool of about 312,563 trained teachers yet to be employed.
Appearing before the Senate Education Committee recently, Dr Macharia said TSC has consistently requested for increased budgetary provisions to employ 20,000 teachers annually. ” … and this has not borne fruit,” Dr Macharia told senators.
The legislators heard that in 2018, TSC projected to employ 12,626 teachers annually for the next four years. “To this end, we requested additional funds of Sh, 5 billion, “however the same was not honoured ,” Dr. Macharia said. And with the expected expansion of classrooms after the coronavirus pandemic, more teachers will be required, which means that replacements of exiting teachers is urgent.