Admitting D+ students in colleges won’t lower teacher training quality


The argument by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that enrolling D+ students from former North Eastern Province as affirmative action in teachers colleges will lower the quality of training is a fallacy.

In the same class are students who scored C, B and A in the KSCE examination.

The academic programme is the same for all students and, out of the 3,000 students admitted to the various colleges, none was reported to have challenges in the academic or curriculum requirements.

Additionally, all trainees must pass a common national examination irrespective of their KCSE entry grade to quality as a teacher.

It is common knowledge that students in northeastern Kenya are not passing their national exams both at primary and secondary schools levels as well as their counterparts in the other advantaged regions.

But this is due to known serious educational inequalities and poor socioeducational determinants occasioned by historical and deliberate marginalisation by successive governments with resultant regional disparity.

It’s universally accepted that education is a process of acquiring knowledge, skills, values and attitude to gain an effective weapon to fight ignorance, poverty and disease.

Thus, for education to be effective, there are several interwoven players’ efforts from the parents, community and government that must stimulate and provide synergistic and harmonious interplaying support.

The most common denominator in the high-performance schools in the national exams, whether primary or secondary, are adequate education infrastructure for both learning and teaching environment as a result of deliberate massive investment from either private or public resource allocation.

In modern Kenya, most of the primary schools in the former NEP and other arid and semi-arid regions lack basic education infrastructure — including adequate classes, books, desks, libraries and teachers. Some students even learn under trees.

This affirmative action was occasioned by a massive exodus of teachers from the other parts of Kenya who were working and teaching in the region, from Garissa to Mandera, following several brutal killings of tutors by Al-Shabaab terrorists and general insecurity.

It was a stop-gap measure to solve the perennial problem with local solutions.

The perennial general problem in education in the former NEP requires holistic, Solomonic wisdom, compassionate and patriotic solutions, not silos mentality.

The philosophy behind this affirmative action is, better a D+ teacher than no teacher.

The 2007 Kenya National Literacy Survey put the illiteracy rate in this region at 92 per cent.

Here, less than six per cent of KSCE candidates get C+ and above to qualify for the university, and under eight per cent of KCPE pupils qualify for admission to national schools.

Supremacy wars between TSC and the Ministry of Education will not quench the thirst for education among NEP children.

Allow the able trainee teachers to continue with their programme and ignore the ridiculous court order that rescinded then-Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed’s well-intentioned directive.


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