By Okoth Peter.
The county faces acute shortage of teachers with education stakeholders lamenting it is hampering learning in schools.
For instance, according to St Luke’s Odiado Secondary School Deputy Principal, Joseph Onani, his school with a population of 268 students has nine TSC teachers and four Board of Management (BOM) teachers.
He says the school is supposed to have 12 TSC teachers, meaning they have a shortfall of three tutors.
At Busia Township Secondary School things are not any different as teachers are overworked to the point of compromising standards. The school started in 2012 has population of 239 students with seven TSC teachers instead of 11. It also has two BOM teachers who help out.
Also sharing the concern is St. Mary’s Burumba Secondary School whose head, Isaac Wandera says has a population of 750 pupils against the teaching fraternity of 15 TSC teachers instead of 29. The school also had 14 BOM teachers but has been forced to lay off five of them due to financial constraints.
“As we talk now, the morale of our BOM teachers is very low due to the uncertainty of their pay due to financial constraints we are currently facing as we can no longer ask parents to chip in.” he said.
“In the present circumstances it is not easy for us to operate effectively and deliver good results amidst these challenges,” he added.
Things are the same at Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School where 17 TSC teachers and five BOM teachers are trying to handle a population of 330 girls.
“We have shortage of two TSC teachers and due to financial constraints. We are not able to hire more BOM teachers,” one of the teachers, Metrine Barasa, says.
The new policy that directs schools to recruit only qualified teachers with the Teachers Service Commission (TCS) numbers even makes things difficult,” she added.
St. Mathias Boys High School Principal, Titus Isogol also admitted they are undergoing difficult time with the problem of shortage of teachers which may affect their programmes and set goals.
“Due to this shortage, we have hired six BOM teachers who we pay Sh18,000 a month; translating to Sh1.3 million a year, something that is posing a big challenge to us,” he said.
According to Busia County TSC Director of Education, Ibrahim Rugut, as at last year the region had a deficit of 1,039 teachers out of whom 157 were in Nambale Sub-County, 31 in Bunyala; 111 Busia; 184 Samia; 158 Butula; 194 Teso South and 203 in Teso Noth Sub-Counties.
“Even though we have this shortfall, we are trying to ensure we do not have pockets of overstaffing or understaffing in some areas as we want our teachers to give quality education wherever they are,” he said in an interview in Busia recently.