Number of PhD, Master’s holders in primary schools hits over 2000

Holders of Masters and Doctorate degrees teaching at the primary school level have more than quadrupled over the last three years.

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Holders of Masters and Doctorate degrees teaching at the primary school level have more than quadrupled over the last three years to hit 2,060 as the government continues to freeze their promotion to higher jobs, a new survey shows.

The Economic Survey 2024 published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows the number shot an all-time high during the year to last December, up from 491 at the height of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020.

Conventionally, PhD holders work as lecturers or administrators in tertiary-level institutions while Masters’ degree-holding teachers head secondary schools or teach at teachers’ training colleges.

Last year, certificate holders accounted for the highest number of primary school teachers in public schools at 148,525, followed by Diploma and Bachelor’s degree holders at 40,916 and 28,226 respectively.

“There was a 0.8 per cent (year-on-year) decrease in the total number of public primary teachers from 221,510 in 2022 to 219,727 in 2023. This decline is partly attributed to factors such as retirement, disciplinary action, study leave and natural attrition,” said KNBS in the survey.

The teachers’ unions have been embroiled in a protracted struggle with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) seeking to secure promotions for professionals, who have attained higher educational standards, but the employer has been evasive and instead referred the matter to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

In its argument, TSC has asserted the non-recognition of higher qualifications attained by teachers while in service, insisting that it promotes tutors purely based on its established Career Progression Guidelines.

As at the close of the 12th Parliament in 2022, MPs had published a report directing TSC to negotiate with teachers’ unions geared towards upholding the rights of teachers who had acquired relevant qualifications at the time of their in-service.

In the report, members of the then Education and Research Committee noted that promotions would be in accordance with the Unesco/ILO recommendations of 1966 that codify the intellectual rights of teachers who undertake relevant in-service courses.

TSC stopped the automatic promotions using the Schemes of Service in 2014 and introduced the CPGs in 2016.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.