State should pay attention to the welfare of JSS teachers

Basic Education Director Stephen Baringo addressing JSS students at Talau Primary School. Photos by Hillary Khamati.

In 2023, Teachers Service Commission (TSC) began a rather unique journey of contracting Junior Secondary School (JSS) teachers. The exercise was unique in that secondary trained teachers were to be employed and placed in all the primary schools where JSS was domiciled.

Third cohort of teachers came with a basket full of expectations. Most of them were employed under Board of Management (BoM) in various secondary schools in the country. Upon arrival to what was their childhood schools, a huge percentage of them were shocked to the marrow of their bones.

The internet connectivity, sumptuous meals, weekend remedial stipends among others freebies were a rare vocabulary in the primary schools they were posted to.

This environment made some of them to develop special needs as they failed to come to terms with the reality. A classic example is a mogul (JSS teacher) who could be heard calling over a phone and asking him whether he had reached “Shakahola”.

‘Shakahola’ here implied his place of work. He went ahead to ask, “How is your ancestors and the living dead?”

I later learnt that the ancestor sand the living dead is a new vocabulary used to refer to the head teacher and the teachers.

A retrospect of this scenario faced by our JSS teachers necessitated the TSC to revamp and reinvigorate the teacher induction, mentorship and coaching (TIMEC) programme.

This is a component of teacher wellness which had been given less attention in the recent past by the employer.

Our younger brothers and sisters handling JSS need to be handled with utmost care for them to offer quality education in their schools.

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The employer should apart from offering them TIMEC services, assure them of a clear career progression guideline and motivate them further by giving a clear roadmap on conversion of interns to permanent terms.

It is also crucial for the current head of JSS to be retrained on management of this new cohort of teachers.

This will minimise friction and create an ambient working relationship. The two teachers’ unions (Knut and kuppet) should also seek membership from the moguls in a sober manner. Scenarios where the moguls are told that they don’t belong to comprehensive schools or senior schools will escalate their stress.

Teachers’ Saccos and welfare groups also play pivotal role in mainstreaming the moguls in the school system. Attractive products that put into consideration their pay and financial literacy programmes will create sobriety amongst them.

For effective implementation of the CBC, these teachers play an important role that should not be taken for granted.

Stakeholders should ensure that the moguls concerns are addressed so that they midwife with care the transition of our learners from junior to senior schools.

By Kwombo Cheruto

Kwombo Cheruto is an Educationist from Sirwa Nandi County.

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Education News - Newspaper Vol 281