The push to scrap the Bachelor of Education course is now gaining momentum after Education CS George Magoha supported the proposal.
Magoha on Wednesday said the proposal is timely as “change is inevitable.”
The Teachers Service Commission seeks to abolish and replace the Education degree with a four-year two-tier rigorous teacher training programme.
Under the proposal, secondary school graduates who qualify to join university will do either science or arts degree courses before proceeding for a one-year postgraduate diploma training.
Secondary school teachers will only be certified and allowed to teach after acquiring the postgraduate diploma.
The rationale behind the change in training teachers is to give a sufficient number of hours to mould and effectively impart teaching methods to trainees.
The postgraduate training will be conducted in the yet-to-be-established Kenya School of Education, where the graduates will be equipped with skills to interact with pupils, parents, colleagues and the community at large.
The proposed shift also seeks to develop teachers’ ethics. It has, however, come under sharp criticism by a section of education stakeholders, among them trade unions and university heads.
University and Academic Staff Union secretary general Constantine Wasonga on Wednesday said it was not in the place of TSC to order universities on the courses to offer.
He noted that CUE has already put in place reform procedures that require curriculum review of a course after every five years.
“Such changes proposed by the TSC can be channelled to CUE, which will issue directives to curriculum review committees in universities to adopt the changes,” Wasonga said.
He argued that scrapping B.Ed training will make it difficult for those interested in pursuing teaching.
“Let universities do their mandate of teaching and graduating teachers and let the TSC with the guidance of CUE do their work as they have always done,” Wasonga said.
However, the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association also supported the proposal one that seeks to prepare educators’ public personalities and teaching styles and develop their classroom interaction skills.
Kessha chairman Indimuli Kahi dismissed as “shallow” the current training programme for teachers.
“As it is, teachers graduate when they do not know what to achieve… The current training is shallow and leaves key aspects such as teaching how to behave like teachers, how to manage your emotions, how to treat male students in the case a teacher is female and vice versa,” Kahi told the Star.
He argued that the current training also fails to factor in proper behavioural skills required of a teacher such as anger management.
“A teacher is clearly the head of the classroom and his or her role as a model citizen is important… To improve the quality of the teachers graduating from our universities, it is imperative that the secondary school teacher training programme is restructured to enable the trainees to acquire sufficient subject mastery and pedagogy,” Kahi said.
Education experts say the proposed policy is not being advanced because the Education degree is no longer marketable but to professionalise and regulate secondary school teacher training.
The B.Ed was introduced in Kenyan universities in 1972. Those in the education sector then said it was to take care of teacher shortage at the secondary school level.
University heads and deans of education, however, propose professional development courses instead of scrapping off B.Ed.
Prof Kisilu Kombo, the acting dean of Education at Kenyatta University, on Wednesday said professional development courses are designed to meet the needs of teachers and teaching.
“Courses such as anger management, including students with disabilities in the classroom, or managing student behaviours can be designed and facilitated in counties or regions on an annual basis,” Kisilu told the Star.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers on Thursday said education graduates need more practical hours.
“Whereas the Law degree is theoretical, the postgraduate diploma in law is about the professional practice at the bar and also the bench. The proposed postgraduate diploma currently exists, but does not produce better teachers,” Misori told our team.
He noted that the B.Ed degree should continue but proposed the Kenya School of Education be a professional board for the regulation, certification and licensing of teachers as is the case for other professional bodies like the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya and the Institute of Human Resource Management.