Poor pay, delayed promotion blamed for mass exodus of teachers

Some of the teachers who have signed for jobs in the US. Photos by Kamau Njoroge

Dejection,  lack of motivation, unbearable working conditions and poor pay have been cited as the main reasons why most teachers in the country prefer seeking greener pastures abroad.

Despite securing job opportunities with the government, most teachers have also expressed concerns over insecurity and poor policies that they say have been impacting them negatively in the world of work.

In a move that could destabilize the sector, the mass exodus, coupled with the number of teachers who retire and or die every month could further strain the sector that is already facing a huge shortage of over 100,000 tutors.

Most teachers are leaving the offer provided by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) over small pay that they say is not commensurate with the current economic times when prices for basics have shot through the roof.

Teachers who spoke to journalists decried that the pay disparity between teachers and civil servants is too wide, a situation that continues to impoverish them despite their crucial role in shaping the country’s future.

According to them, skewed and delayed promotions are also motivating most of them out of the profession while others are seeking to practice it abroad where terms of operation are friendly.

Dr Peter Ruhiri addressing teachers in Ruiru, Kiambu County.

Speaking while signing contracts after securing well-paying jobs in America, the educators called on the government to streamline and better the remuneration to teachers to reduce the exodus that will eventually deprive the country of its brilliant minds which might lower the quality of education offered to learners.


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Led by Beatrice Wanjiku Gitau, a special education teacher with over 30 years’ experience, the teachers regretted stagnation of Kenyan teachers’ remuneration despite their experience saying that most of them are currently dispirited, a reason they continue to train their focus elsewhere.

“Teachers are the most hardworking lot in this country yet they still suffer the most with meager pay which usually demoralize us. We too need personal growth but we can’t achieve it with the current working conditions in the country,” Wanjiku said.

After a successful recruitment process by PesuaR International Job Placement Consultancy, over 70 Kenyan teachers have secured lucrative job opportunities in the USA taking home over KSh400,000 monthly.

Dr Peter Ruhiri, a representative of the consultancy who spoke to journalists in Ruiru where the teachers’ signed contracts said that more teachers will be enrolled in the programme next year once more teaching opportunities arise.

“For a teacher to qualify, one must have a degree in education, be able to handle the discipline of learners in the US education culture and exhibit passion for working in a new environment,” Ruhiri said.

Ruhiri revealed that most countries have been struggling with teachers’ shortage since Covid-19 period where most of the trained professionals died.

As such, he said that there are more fulfilling opportunities for teachers in various parts of the world, further revealing that teachers who have been expressing interest in leaving the local opportunities have been grappling with rigid upward professional mobility, otherwise called the promotion of teachers, as less motivation compared to other employers in the public service.

By Kamau Njoroge

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