How teacher colleges were saved from brink of closure

The gate at Kwale Teachers' Training College. Enrolment at public TTCs has risen after the relaxation of the entry grades requirements. FILE PHOTO | POOL

Teachers training colleges (TTCs) that were as recent as two years ago struggling to attract students and on the verge of collapse are experiencing a new lease of life following the relaxation of entry grades for the diploma course.

So bad was the situation in some colleges that tutors outnumbered trainees and resources were underutilised, leading to wastage. However, the 32 public TTCs that had enrolled 6,935 trainees in two years have seen the enrolment rise to 20,845 since September last year and the number is expected to rise even further when more teacher trainees are admitted in September this year.

The colleges had seen fewer trainees gain admission following the 2021 requirement that to qualify for training as a teacher, one had to have scored a mean grade of C (plain) and a similar score in all the cluster subjects as well as in English, Kiswahili and mathematics, a humanities subject and a science subject.

The requirement was a result of a push by the Teachers Service Commission and the Ministry of Education to improve the quality of teacher training in the competency-based curriculum (CBC). Applications are currently ongoing through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service.

According to the applications portal, the cost of tuition is Sh72,076 for the first year of the three-year course.

All pre-service training for primary school teachers is now at the diploma level after the phasing out of training for the certificate in primary teacher education, commonly known as P1.

With more teachers training for the diploma, there will be more pressure on those with the certificate to upgrade, especially the jobless, for them to remain competitive.

However, few candidates met the criteria as most of the people with such grades would have already qualified for university admission or sought training in other fields.

The lack of teacher trainees threatened the future supply of teachers as the country implements reforms in all segments of the education sector. For example, Mandera TTC which had 23 teachers training only now has 668 and expects more to join in September.

The relaxation of the entry grades follows a recommendation by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER) and all prospective teachers need now is just a mean grade of a C plain in the KCSE without the requirement of the cluster subjects.

The PWPER report also recommended that the Ministry of Education establishes a Kenya Teacher Training College (KeTTC), in two years, to administer pre-service teacher training. This is to be modelled along the Kenya MedicBasal Training College (KMTC) where all the existing TTCs shall become campuses of the KeTTC.

“The college shall be a body corporate and it shall be headed by a board which shall have both strategic and stewardship role. The TTCs in the counties shall be campuses of the college, headed by a director,” reads the report.

To effect the change, the Ministry of Education has prepared a draft Basic Education (Amendment) Bill, 2024 to provide for the establishment of the college. A draft sessional paper also provides for the establishment of the college.

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