More than 110,000 secondary school teachers face retraining to enable them cope with the demands of Competency-Based Curriculum.
Teachers Service Commission says news learning areas introduced under the system have made it mandatory for all teachers to go back to school to gain skills on how to handle the subject adjustments as the secondary schools prepare for a double intake in 2023.
In a letter to Basic Education Principal Secretary Dr Julius Jwan, seen by The Standard, TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia says there are some new subjects which require teachers to be trained and hired.
Those requiring special attention include pre-technical and pre-vocational education, life skills, agriculture and health education.
Others are optional subjects such as indigenous languages, Kenya sign language, visual arts and performing arts. Dr Macharia says all home science and biology teachers will have to be retrained to enable them handle health education, those in social studies must be taught how to teach new content on citizenship while those for sports and physical education must be enabled to deal with sports and health.
The commission recommends an overhaul of the teacher education curriculum to meet the special demands of CBC.
“We advise and recommend that the teacher education curriculum should be made flexible and aligned to enable a single teacher to teach a variety of subjects,” she says in the July 26 letter, which is an official advisory on the teacher preparation and requirements as the country gears up for the establishment of junior and senior secondary schools in under two years.
Currently, teachers are trained to teach at least two subjects but the demands of the CBC now make it necessary to widen the teaching areas.
Some of the subjects introduced under the new system and that have no teachers include leatherwork, wood technology, hairdressing and beauty therapy, plumbing and ceramics and welding fabrication.
Others are mandarin, sports teachers, performing arts and visual and applied arts.
Dr Macharia says teachers in various subjects that have been adjusted or adopted new learning areas will be retrained across the country.
They include those for business studies, mathematics, physical sciences, English and literature, Kiswahili, sign language, Arabic, French, German, Agriculture, History, CRE, and building construction. Others are Islamic Religious Education, Hindu Religious Education, home economics, aviation, electricity and metal technology.
The commission recommends that sufficient funds be made available “for the retooling and training of teachers for the effective implementation of junior and senior secondary curriculum.”
It also recommends that the three diploma colleges – Kagumo, Kibabii and Lugari—be ordered to admit students for the new subjects “on a demand-driven approach.”
It also says that the Kenya Technical Training College should be directed to upscale the training of teachers in the technical oriented subjects required under CBC.
“Universities should be appropriately informed about the new subjects and that should guide admission of students pursuing education to meet the projected demands,” the commission says.
Already, almost all primary school teachers handling the CBC up to Grade Five have been adequately trained on the new system.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani in June allocated only Sh1 billion for the CBC implementation and slashed allocation to TSC by Sh18.7 billion.
The TSC had asked for Sh300 billion to enable it hire more teachers to manage the increased student population prompted by the Government’s push to achieve 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary schools.
The funding gap now means the TSC will not be able to meet its projection of hiring 25,000 teachers and 12,000 interns in the current financial year even as schools grapple with shortages of more than 100,000 teachers across the basic education.
The pioneer Grade 6 learners, who will sit national examinations under the 2-6-3-3-3 system next year, will move to Junior Secondary School in 2023, together with next year’s Standard Eight candidates.
The current Standard Six learners under the 8-4-4 system will join Form One, after sitting KCPE exams presenting a huge infrastructure challenge of hosting 2.6 million children in 2023.
According to a Government report on the CBC, approximately 1,250,649 learners enrolled at Grade 4 in 2020 will transit to Junior secondary school (Grade 7) as the first cohort of 2-6-3-3-3, while the 1, 320, 395 Standard Six cohort of 2020 will transit to Form One under 8-4-4 system in 2023.
While the 8-4-4 system is academic and examination centred, the CBC places more emphasis on individual talents and developing competencies and career pathways from primary school to tertiary education.