By Azael Masese.
Biting shortage of Teachers Service Commission (TSC) teachers in public schools might slow the pace of reforms being undertaken in the Education sector, Heads of secondary schools say.
This comes at a time when the government is moving to rein in Principals who charge parents what it views as exorbitant fees, to pay teachers employed by the Board of Management (BOM).
Nyeri County Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA) Chairman, Gachara Miano supported the reforms but cautioned that there is no immediate solution to problems of shortage of TSC teachers in public schools due to budgetary constraints being experienced by the government. “The only way is to consult parents on the need to contribute towards paying the teachers employed by the Board,” Miano who is also the Gaaki Secondary School Principal said during KESSHA conference held at a Nakuru hotel.
Mombasa County KESSHA Chairman, Mwinyi Yeya said newly registered schools are the hardest hit by the shortage of teachers.
“The shortage of government teachers is a big challenge in the country and the only way is for school heads and parents to agree on paying those to be employed by the Board,” the Makupa Secondary School Principal advised.
However, addressing the conference, Nakuru County Director of Education, Isaac Atebe said the mode is subject to abuse by mischievous school heads.
“A school in Molo asked parents to pay about Sh1000 from the more than 1,000 students for the same cause and this amounts to about Sh1 million,” he said.
Mr Atebe stated that the money might not be paid to the said teachers as some of them are underpaid and the rest might end in the Principals’ accounts.
Bungoma County KESSHA Chairman, Salami Keya urged school Heads to adhere to the policies as spelt out by the Ministry of Education.
“You might enjoy the protection of good performance but when things go wrong, the system does not care of your past immense contribution as you are judged as per the current moment,” said Keya who heads Sikusi Secondary School.
During the meeting, it emerged that some Heads use the money, listed as Personal Emolument, to pay the teachers. Personal Emolument is meant to pay the non-teaching staff such as the cooks and groundmen.
Due to the poor pay, some schools hire teachers who are least qualified or motivated to handle the learners, hence compromise the very quality of education the government seeks to achieve.