How State killed teacher training colleges - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 11 August 2021

How State killed teacher training colleges

 

Teacher-training colleges (TTCs) are on the verge of collapse after the government scrapped certificate programmes for basic-education tutors and revised their entry grades.

The move has left more than 30 government-owned colleges and 37 private ones without students.

Only five government TTCs got students, each enrolling an average of 20, down from the more than 200 they used to recruit each year before the government revised the entry grades.

The last P1 certificate class completed their course in December last year, leaving the colleges without students.

In a recruitment conducted in April and May, only 600 students met the new entry requirements set by the Education ministry and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

Of the 600 students, 400 settled for the new Diploma in Primary Education, while 200 were recruited to pursue the Early Childhood and Development Education (ECDE) diploma programme.

The Education ministry distributed the students in only five teacher colleges, leaving the other 30 TTCs without any students to teach.

The five colleges that got students are Thogoto TTC, Machakos TTC, Igoji TTC, Baringo TTC and Migori TTC.

No qualified students

Failure to attract qualified students has seen private TTCs shift focus to other business courses to stay afloat.

There are 35 government teacher-training colleges and 37 privately owned ones across the country.

Nakuru Teachers Training College registrar Dennis Bowen said the institution was only able to attract five students for the Diploma in Primary Education while Diploma in Early Childhood programme attracted 100 students.

Mr Bowen blamed the low enrolment on high cluster-subject qualifications prescribed by the Ministry of Education.

“We got many applications from students who scored a mean grade of C (plain), but when it came to cluster combination, a majority of them did not qualify,” said Mr Bowen.

The college used to admit more than 500 P1 certificate students yearly.

Under the current grading system, however, the college, like many others, has had to diversify its courses.

Colleges affected by the policy change are targeting business, arts and technical courses.

The Education ministry scrapped the P1 certificate course and introduced Diploma of Primary Education for primary-level teachers and Early Childhood Development Teacher Education  diploma programmes for Pre-primary 1 and Pre-primary 2 teachers.

The entry requirement for the Diploma of Primary Education and the ECDE programmes is Grade C (plain) in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination or its equivalent as certified by the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec).

Candidates for the two diploma courses are also required to have a C plain in all the cluster subjects – English and Kiswahili, Mathematics, any humanity and any science subject.

For candidates with disabilities, the minimum entry grade is C (minus), with a C (minus) in the cluster subjects.

Since 2016, when the government lowered the minimum university entry grade for government-sponsored students to C (plus), teacher training colleges have been struggling with low numbers.

The colleges previously attracted a large number of students who scored B (minus) and C (plus).

Some of these teachers later pursued degree courses as self-sponsored students.

Consequently, the government lowered the entry grade for the P1 certificate course to C (minus). No minimum cluster qualification was set, which made the P1 certificate course quite popular. For the ECDE certificate course, the entry qualification had been set at a mean grade of D (plus),  which saw many Form Four leavers pursue the course.

An attempt to lower the entry grades for students in marginalised areas in 2018, however, failed.

Former Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed had lowered the entry grade for the teachers’ diploma course from C (plus) to C (plain) and for the certificate course from C to D (plus).

The plan to lower grades for students from marginalised counties had been backdated to cover the 2006 KCSE candidates.

The grades were lowered in accordance with legal provisions and following the Kenya National Qualifications Framework Regulations, 2018.

The counties listed as marginalised were Turkana, Samburu, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Lamu, Baringo, Narok, Kajiado, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita-Taveta, Tana River and West Pokot.

The TSC, however, opposed lowering of the entry grades and threatened not to employ beneficiaries of the plan.

More than 3,000 teachers were withdrawn from colleges after the TSC set the minimum entry grade for P1 teachers as C (minus) for certificate and C (plain) for diploma courses.

Consequently, for more than four years, teacher-training colleges, especially those in the marginalised areas, have not been attracting students.

This has made things hard for the Education ministry, which is currently recruiting students for the new primary and ECDE diploma programmes which will start in September.

The ministry has also started recruiting unemployed-but-already-trained P1 and ECDE teachers for a one-year bridging diploma programme starting next month.

Basic Education Principal Secretary Julius Jwan yesterday asked teachers with certificates in primary education or early childhood teacher education wishing to upgrade their credentials to diploma level to apply for admission into teacher-training colleges.

The one-year bridging course is aimed at aligning the certificate teacher’s  training with the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) reforms being implemented by the government.

“The applicants must be registered by TSC and must also possess valid certificates. They will be expected to take specially designed courses and have teaching practice of a specified period before qualifying for the diploma,” said Dr Jwan.

According to the PS, the upgrading programme is for trained teachers who are not in service.

A school-based upgrading programme for teachers who are already in service will be available once the school calendar normalises. The deadline for applications is August 13.    BY DAILY NATION  

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