Today, Kulan Post editorial is reacting to the mass transfer of teachers and why we think it’s time for the leaders to meet the Head of the State for intervention.
Since three weeks ago, there has been whirlwind of meetings, press conferences and condemnation on the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) over the mass removal of non-local teachers from Northeastern counties over targeted attacks by the Somali based militant group Al-Shabab.
The CEO of TSC, Nancy Macharia said the mass transfer was necessitated by the killings of the teachers while leaders, educationist and parents insist the decision was pre-determined, only awaiting for a trigger.
However, some leaders such as Ijara MP Sofia Abdinur termed the teachers who left “conmen and women” while addressing deserted students in her area. She was, perhaps, lost on her that safety of the teachers is more important than the education of the children. A teacher who fled can be replaced but never a dead one.
This issue of transferring teachers enmasse whenever the Shababs attack started well back in 2015 when Garissa University was attacked and over 150 innocent students lost their lives.
Since then, the locals—who bear the brunt of the Shabab attacks—felt victims again, now by the government and set of unfavorable policies termed in many circles as discriminatory.
This latest exodus allegedly orchestrated by Nancy Macharia has renewed debate on whether a proposal to lower entry grade to teaching colleges by the former Cabinet Secretary for Education, Amina Mohamed and leaders from the Northeastern region would have saved the lives of the slain teachers.
The proposal was rejected by the CEO of Teachers Service Commission, Dr Nancy Macharia who squashed the directive by the ministry to the teachers training colleges to lower the entry grade for marginalised students willing to join the profession.
The TSC boss argued that implementing the proposal would affect the quality of teachers.
If the proposal was to see the light of the day, students with C plain and C+ seeking to study for diploma in education would have been absorbed. That window would then have created opportunities for local students from northeastern counties of Wajir, Garissa and Mandera and lowered chances of Al Shabab targeting teachers and causing mass transfer to other parts of the country as the norm whenever the militants kill non-local teachers.
Even the giant Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) agreed with the proposal and welcomed it. The Secretary-General of the Union, while condemning the incident in which Al-Shabaab militants killed three non-local teachers at Kamuthe Primary School, blamed the re-occurrence of the incidents on the poor staffing norms by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
The former Education CS believed that candidates who score D+ should consider teaching courses so as to help those who do not benefit from an equitable environment of learning.
The CS cited this would help areas of Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) and North Eastern parts of the Country, which are desperately in need of teachers.
Although it was particularly watered down by the TSC boss, it still remains the most practical proposal yet.
At this juncture, it’s paramount for the leaders to escalate the matter to President since it calls for such actions. Due to the nature of the Commission and its relative independence from the Education ministry, only an intervention by the head of the state can offer a lasting solution.