The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is recruiting 11,574 teachers and will promote 1,000 others in a move that is aimed at easing the chronic staffing crisis in public schools. 

Secondary schools will be the main beneficiaries of the new teachers, with focus placed on supporting the 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school. Primary schools will have the biggest number of teachers hired to replace those who have exited the service.

The new teachers will be hired at a time when the government is closely watching the spread of Covid-19 to make decisions on schools reopening.

Additional teachers will be required in the new dispensation that will see learners taught in smaller groups to observe social distancing.

5,000 new vacancies

Of the total number, 5,000 will be new vacancies, which will be added to the current teaching force of 337,432, according to the latest data.

Secondary schools will absorb 4,000 of these. The additional staff will still fall short of the dream target of a 40:1 pupil-teacher ratio in public schools, many of which struggle with congestion. This has been blamed for poor curriculum delivery that ultimately affects learning outcomes.

In a new strategy that will be welcomed by teachers in primary schools, TSC will promote and redeploy to secondary schools 1,000 tutors who have attained higher qualifications while in service, but have stagnated in their job grades.

Those who qualify for promotion must hold a P1 certificate in addition to a bachelor’s degree in education with two teaching subjects. They are required to have at least a C+ (plus) mean grade at the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam or its equivalent, and C+ (plus) or its equivalent in their chosen two teaching subjects.

“The successful candidates under this category shall be appointed at T-Scale 7, Grade C2 under the career progression guidelines for teachers, and shall be deployed to secondary schools where vacancies exist,” says the advertisement that appears in the September 1 MyGov edition.

Basic salary

Teachers at this level earn a basic salary of between Sh34,955 and Sh43,649. In addition, teachers who work in Nairobi take home Sh16,500 in house allowance. Those stationed in the former major municipalities of Kisumu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Eldoret, Thika, Kisii, Malindi and Kitale get Sh12,800 while the ones in other former municipalities get Sh9,600 as house allowance. Other areas have been allocated Sh7,500. The new teachers will also earn Sh5,000 as commuter allowance and a Sh6,000 leave allowance. Those deployed in hardship areas will earn a Sh10,900 hardship allowance.

To complete the recruitment for secondary schools, the commission will hire 1,100 more teachers to replace those who have exited service —  those who have died, resigned or dismissed by the employer. This brings the total number of teachers who will join secondary schools to 6,100.

Staffing gaps

The vacancies for secondary schools are open to Kenyan citizens, who must be holders of at least a diploma in education. They must be registered with the TSC.

Secondary schools have been worst hit by staffing gaps, and the boards of management have had to make their own arrangements to hire teachers. It is estimated that there are about 72,000 teachers hired by school boards.

The Ministry of Education, however, does not allocate money for teacher salaries as it is the responsibility of TSC to hire them. Headteachers are therefore forced to find ways of cutting costs to pay teachers while keeping day-to-day expenditure to a minimum.

No salaries

It is these teachers who have gone for months without pay after schools were closed mid-March to curb the spread of coronavirus. The ministry has stepped in to pay the teachers Sh10,000 monthly from July to December. The ministry has, however, complained that principals presented exaggerated numbers of the tutors, which has caused a delay in the release of the funds.

The staffing crisis in primary schools will get moderate relief, with 1,000 new teachers filling the available vacancies and 5,474 more employed to replace the ones who have exited the service.

The prospective applicants must be Kenyan citizens who hold a PI certificate and registered with the TSC.

The positions advertised will be on permanent and pensionable basis. The successful candidates should be eligible to serve for a minimum period of 10 continuous years, effective from the date of first appointment.

“Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously been employed by the TSC,” reads the advert signed by the CEO of the commission Nancy Macharia.

TSC received one of the biggest budgetary allocations in the current financial year — Sh266 billion. Teacher resource management will take Sh257.97 billion and Sh1 billion will be spent on governance and standards while Sh7.1 billion will go to general administration, planning and support services.

Internship programme

To plug the staffing gaps, TSC last year introduced a one-year internship programme for both primary and secondary school teachers who earn Sh10,000 and Sh15,000 respectively. It has been criticised as exploitative as the teachers are qualified yet they are paid way below their counterparts on permanent terms for the same work done.

There are about 300,000 qualified but unemployed teachers in Kenya. Many others who work in private schools have lost jobs or have been forced to take unpaid leave since March, when the schools were closed. When they reopen, some of them will cut down on staff expenses to make up for the financial losses they have incurred.

Specific information on available vacancies per county or school has been posted on the commission’s website: www.tsc.go.ke.

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