The government is planning to employ 15,000 secondary school teachers – some 5,000 annually – in the next three years.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC), however, says it has no plans to recruit primary school tutors, throwing into uncertainty the fate of thousands of unemployed P1 certificate holders.
In efforts to plug staffing gaps in schools, the commission will also engage the services of 5,500 interns on a one-year contract every year.
Details of the plans are contained in the Programme-Based Budget 2021 estimates that also confirm TSC as one of the largest beneficiaries of funding from the exchequer.
TSC has been allocated Sh281.7 billion for the 2021/22 financial year, up from the Sh266 billion it got in the current year.
The commission has over the years struggled to address staffing shortages in schools and even with the recruitment of teachers, it will still be way short of optimal levels.
In the recent past, staff pay has taken up 99.4 per cent of the money received by TSC.
Curiously, the commission does not make reference to any provision for a new pay deal with the teachers.
TSC plans to deploy the 5,000 teachers to secondary schools as the institutions are expected to face a bigger shortage.
Some 3,500 interns will also be posted to secondary schools. The same number of interns will be engaged in each of the next two years.
Primary schools will not get new teachers as the phasing out of the 8-4-4 system is expected to reduce the workload since learners will move to secondary school after Grade Six under the competency-based curriculum (CBC).
Only 2,000 interns will be posted to primary schools each year.
This leaves thousands of unemployed teachers who hold the P1 certificate in uncertainty as the government is also doing away with the qualification.
Teacher training colleges will from this year launch a three-year diploma course in teacher education that is aligned to the CBC.
For tertiary institutions, only 67 tutors will be hired during the financial year and 68 others the following year.
The internship programme was started in 2019. Many enlist in the hope of landing permanent jobs when vacancies are announced.
A primary school intern gets a monthly stipend of Sh15,000 while a secondary school one is given Sh20,000.
There will be a double intake in January 2023 when the first CBC cohort transitions to junior secondary school while the last 8-4-4 pupils – currently in Std Five – will also report for Form One.
Secondary schools will have five classes instead of four that year.
When the CBC is fully implemented, secondary schools will have six classes – three for junior and three for senior – while primary schools will have two less than the current eight.
Teachers’ unions have not engage the employer for a new collective bargaining agreement even though the 2017-2021 one expires in a month.
The commission estimates that over the next three years, some Sh273 billion would be required in 2021/22, Sh274.7 billion in 2022/23 and Sh279.3 billion in 2023/24 financial years to pay teachers.