NAIROBI (AA) – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) is urging the government to take all necessary measures to recruit tens of thousands of more teachers, warning that the shortage could undermine the quality of education in the East African country.
“We appreciate the growth in enrollment over the last ten years after the inception of free primary education and free secondary education,” KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion told Anadolu Agency.
“But there has not been any corresponding increase in the number of teachers,” he said.
Kenya currently has 290,000 teachers, including 70,000 who serve nearly three million in the early childhood development sector.
The country has as many as 15 million primary, secondary and tertiary students.
“Virtually every region in Kenya has a shortage of teachers, including Nairobi which has been perceived to have more teachers than it deserves,” said Sossion.
“The gap is dangerously wide. I am talking about a shortage of over 170,000 teachers,” he asserted.
The unionist leader noted that the early childhood development sector requires 70,000 teachers while primary, secondary and tertiary institutions need 100,000 more teachers.
Sossion said the shortage rate was alarming and that the government needs to act fast.
“We have asked the government of Kenya to urgently set aside 18billion (roughly$ 204.6 million) to hire 40,000 teachers,” he told AA.
“The 18 billion is quite modest for the economy, currently operating at 2 trillion (roughly $22.7billion), and the country should invest in teachers,” he added.
The KNUT, formed in 1950s to unite teachers who served different employers, now boasts over 200,000 members from public schools.
It wants an accelerated commitment from the government that in every financial year it will allocate funds to meet the different needs of the educational sector.
Sossion warned that, otherwise, the quality of learning in Kenya would be undermined.
“When there is such a big shortage of teachers, the quality of teaching will decline over time,” he said.
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