There is a severe shortage of Junior Secondary School (JSS) teachers in public schools, with some schools going weeks without a single tutor or intern.
Although the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has hired 21,550 interns, this is still insufficient, with the majority of interns specializing in History, Geography, Kiswahili, and Religious studies.
Another issue is that the interns are not distributed evenly across the 24,000 public schools.
Some schools were given three to five interns, while others received none.
The new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) requires at least six teachers to cover the 12 core learning areas plus two electives.
“Majority of teachers posted by TSC here are those having a cluster of history and CRE with other learning areas needing outsourcing,” said a head teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity.
While the Ministry of Education works on a solution, most heads of primary schools have identified teachers with diplomas and degrees to fill the gap.
TSC, for example, has assigned three interns to Kariobangi South Primary School, but the school requires four teachers to handle JSS classes.
Munyau Mbondo, the principal of Nairobi School, is dealing with a similar problem.
“We realised that some of our teachers had upgraded their academic papers to either diplomas or degree level. We have identified eight of them and elevated them to our junior secondary,” Mbondo said.
According to Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association national chairman Johnson Nzioka, despite the government’s efforts to alleviate the problem, much more needs to be done.
“The interns hired by TSC are not enough to fill the gaps in the 24,000 public primary schools across the country. We are experiencing a lot of challenges as a result of teacher shortages,” said Nzioka.
Akelo Misori, secretary general of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), stated that school heads are suffering in silence due to the shortages.
“We are in a serious crisis that requires a series of consultative meetings with stakeholders to get out of the woods. They may be silent but they are going through a lot of challenges administering these schools,” Misori said.