In early March, the ministry of education advertised for training vacancies in Kenyan Teachers Training Colleges across the country after a two year wait. The colleges have not advertised admissions since 2019. The ministry has announced its intention to transition from a two-year P1 course to a three-year diploma program aligned with the new curriculum competency-based curriculum. The Kenya Institute for curriculum development has put in place various measures to create a new curriculum design in preparation for the new course. In preparation for the new curriculum, the ministry of education, in collaboration with the Teachers Service Commission and the Kenya National Examination Council, trained tutors in the 32 public teachers' colleges as well as private.
Then came an advertisement in late February2019 calling for prospective candidates to apply for the course through the respective sub county directors of education. The ministry established new admission criteria, requiring prospective teacher trainees to have a C in KCSE.In addition, the candidates are anticipated to have a mean grade of C in four cluster subjects comprised of languages, mathematics, sciences and humanities. The criteria has really caused a major outcry in the public for those students wishing to pursue the course. A sizeable number of candidates did not qualify. Some counties are reported not to have had students who qualified.
The next big question is can an average student who scored C at KCSE balance his or her subjects perfectly? Given how most of us performed in secondary school, balancing of grades does not even apply to C students only. It is not a walk in the park to fully balance all your subjects. A C student at KCSE is an average student who has a set of subjects that boost others, otherwise thought to be lower. A typical student may excel in two or three clusters but have areas of weakness that must be supplemented by the otherwise perceived stronger areas. Secondly, a number of average students emanate from relatively newly established institutions with struggling science laboratories whose some of the apparatus are yet to be equipped. Other new institutions have acute teacher shortages. As a result, they have found it more difficult to conduct adequate experiments than their more established counterparts. The new C plain criteria in the four clusters could qualify some candidates to be a secondary teacher rather than a primary teacher. TSC requires at least a mean grade of C+ and atleast C+ in any two subjects, which puts to account that one can have an area of strength and weakness in equal measure. In 2019, KCSE results showed that 63,102 students attained a C, while 152,339 attained D-.
This piece urges the Ministry of Education to seriously consider changing the entrance requirements for teachers training colleges to C plain without adding a cluster requirement. The already established CBC curriculum has clusters that are keen to tap our children's talent and special abilities. Setting up a minimum requirement goes against the CBC's objective of focusing on what a learner can do. This will enable the education sector to train adequate teachers to cope with the ever increasing teacher shortage the country faces.
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