Push to hire 40,000 Kenyan teachers by next year By SAMUEL SIRINGI | Wednesday, May 23 2012 at 10:51
Kenyan Education ministry wants the Treasury to set aside funds to recruit a record 40,000 teachers by June next year.
The country's Education minister Mutula Kilonzo has asked for $181 million (Sh15.4 billion) in the 2012/2013 budget to enable the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) deal with the teacher shortage in public secondary and primary schools.
If approved, this will be the biggest single recruitment since the government adopted a needs-based employment policy in the 1990s.
Mr Kilonzo also proposed that a further 20,000 teachers be employed annually over the next three to five years.
The proposals, which could see an additional 100,000 teachers recruited, have been presented to the Parliamentary Budget Committee.
“We have a shortage of over 80,000 teachers for primary and secondary schools,” Mr Kilonzo said in his proposals. The proposed figures are much higher than the 10,000 the Cabinet recently approved for next year.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has rejected the Cabinet figure, saying it is too low.
Knut chairman Wilson Sossion said at the weekend that teachers would go on strike in July if the Treasury failed to allocate enough funds to hire 40,000 teachers.
In his proposals, Mr Kilonzo also asked for money to hire 25,000 kindergarten teachers as his ministry sought to make the sub-sector part of the free primary school programme.
It had been planned that by 2010, the early childhood programme would have been incorporated into the basic education scheme. “Regrettably, this was not achieved due to inadequate funding,” Mr Kilonzo said.
In the 2012/2013 financial year, Treasury allocated Sh1.6 billion for the early childhood programme but the ministry says it requires an additional Sh7.85 billion.
For the free day secondary school programme, Mr Kilonzo asked for Sh1.4 billion more. In the financial year 2012/2013, it was allocated Sh17.7 billion.
He said the ministry was underfunded by Sh10 billion as it had requested Sh25 billion but was given Sh16 billion.
Vulnerable groups including orphans, girls and children from poor families in urban slums and arid districts have been allocated Sh1 billion for bursaries.
In the next financial year, the free learning programme was allocated Sh7.8 billion, Sh2 billion less than requested. The minister said the ministry requires Sh200 million for new offices for the 47 county directors of education.
At the same time, a teachers’ union has warned the government that its members will not accept more lessons to address the shortage of tutors in the country.
Kenya Union of Post- Primary Education teachers (Kuppet) national chairman Omboka Milemba said the government should instead employ more teachers.
“The government seems to be gambling with the education of our children by proposing an increase in teachers’ workload which will not solve the problem,” said Mr Milemba.
Additional reporting by Ouma Wanzala
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