Was TSC ever prepared for the implementation of CBC?

TSC Headquarters building

It is now increasingly clear that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) did not prepare well for the delivery of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) and is still fumbling on policy decisions on this matter. This did not become obvious at the primary school level since the teachers there were inducted on the changes in the teaching methodology only and continued to teach in the same schools.

At the Junior Secondary School (JSS) level the confusion at the TSC became evident since teachers are deployed according to the curriculum offered in the school and the Commission had not prepared for it. Take a single stream school in the year 2023. The Grade 7 students in such a school would have 40 lessons per week. A teacher of Mathematics and Physics would teach five and three lessons for these subjects respectively.

As the students’ progress to Grade 8 and 9 in 2024 and 2025 these teachers’ lessons would increase to 16 and 24 respectively. A History and Geography teacher would have six, 12 and 18 lessons in 2023, 2024 and 2025 respectively.

Using this formula it means from 2023 to 2025 there should have been six teachers in every single stream school who would actually have very low teaching lessons in the first two years. The better and cheaper alternative would have been to have primary school teachers teach JSS right from the beginning; an option that the TSC refused offhand.

TSC must have realized that it would have to employ about 114,000 teachers at a staffing norm of six teachers for 19,000 schools offering JSS. This was clearly unaffordable at one go, leading to the decision to employ 26,000 intern teachers at a low salary of only KSh20,000 and instructing these teachers to teach all subjects including those that they were not trained for a period of one year instead of allowing primary school teachers to teach them at no  extra cost.

Come January 2024 the TSC was still not able to convince the Treasury to release the requisite funds to employ more teachers and to convert the terms of service of the intern teachers to Permanent and Pensionable (P&P). It resorted to extending the internship to two years and employed an additional 20,000 interns. These teachers protested and went to court to challenge this decision and won. The TSC appealed against the ruling leading to the strike by the interns from May 2024. This strike by and largely led to the decision by the National Assembly to appropriate KSh13.4 billion to employ the 46,000 intern teachers on (P&P) terms from July 2024.

This sequence of events leads one to raise pertinent questions to the TSC in particular and the Government in general.

First, did the government, led by the Ministry of Education, carry out any calculations on the total cost of CBC right from grade one to the tertiary level?

Second, did the TSC project the teacher requirements at every level at the basic education sub-sector and did it identify the qualifications of such teachers?

Three, did the TSC and the Treasury brief the Cabinet on the enormity of the challenge of employing teachers at the JSS level?

Four, if the Treasury was not having funds to employ teachers on P&P terms where have they obtained the funds now?

Five, is it clear to the TSC that it is the strike of the interns that has convinced the National Assembly to appropriate additional funds to employ them on P&P terms and if so is it right for the TSC to discipline them when in reality the interns have fought for themselves and the TSC to obtain funds?

Six, is the TSC now calculating for teacher requirements for Senior Secondary Schools that will be complicated by the curriculum designs due to the three pathways?

Seven, was it right for Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development to design and impose a curriculum on the country that is apparently very expensive? Were there no other options to this curriculum?

Eight, does the National Assembly and the Treasury realize that they would still need to appropriate for the employment of a minimum of 68,000 teachers by January 2025 to satisfy the needs of JSS?

Nine, Would the TSC need to pursue the court case against the interns when the National Assembly has provided the funds to employ them?

In conclusion, it is clear that policy making of the TSC is wanting, even though as an organization it has held the teaching service together unlike the mess that is obtaining in the health sector. The TSC needs to up its game or change the commissioners whose have apparently failed in their duties.

Mwalimu Andrew Kibet.

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