TSC and the Plight of Turkana Teachers

TSC C.E.O Gabriel Longeiboni during his visit to Turkana countyLODWAR, TURKANA CENTRAL
Turkana County, which is known for its perennial drought and famine circles, constantly suffers another form of starvation; teacher shortage.

It is this shortage of teachers caused by insecurity and a high attrition rate within the profession that the head of the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) has promised to address. Gabriel Longeiboni has pledged to look into the biting teacher shortage in Turkana County.

The county is experiencing a shortage of more than 2,500 teachers, with a low teacher-student ratio. This is blamed on the high rate of attrition as qualified teachers abandon the profession to join NGOs and politics.

Longeiboni and the TSC commissioner Saadia Kontoma recently met with teachers from the county at St. Kevin Secondary School to reassure them of their support. The meeting was also attended by the deputy governor, area MPs, and county government representatives.

“When we talk about shortage of teachers, it is not only in Turkana county or the pastoralist communities, it is the whole country. We have a shortage of about 90,000 teachers. During the recruitment process, our budget is constrained but we try as much as possible through parliamentary education committee to address the issue,” says Longeiboni.

Longeiboni says the biggest challenge the commission faces is the transfer of teachers. The TSC recruitment policy restricts transferring teachers who have not served for 5 years or more in the region where they were posted.
Kontoma asked teachers to be fair and objective whenever they land better paying jobs elsewhere. They should consider what impact their departure has. Says Kontoma: “When exiting teaching profession we should ask ourselves whom have we nurtured who will remain to take care of the next generation?”

The Turkana county education director Dr. Anyang says that the issue of teacher understaffing is deep rooted in the negative attitude by young people towards the teaching profession.

“We want to encourage people to join this field and one way is by promoting our teachers to higher levels, by doing this we will be motivating them. The promotions should not only take place at the county level but also in the mainstream ladder,” he concluded.

KNUT secretary Turkana county Tony Nasia says understaffing is affecting almost all public schools in the county. Also, the few teachers are demoralized because of the heavy workload.
Turkana county deputy governor Peter Lokoel says that, “Insecurity is our major concern, school have been closed in Turkana south and Turkana East sub-counties, and teachers are getting worried every day.

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