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Teacher training key in achieving quality education

In January 2016 the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by the United Nations came into force in all its Member States.

Among the 17 SDGs, quality education, stated as Sustainable Goal number four, this meant that member states should adopt the goal by improving the quality of education offered in each country.

This came into implementation in Kenya following the operationalization of the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) in 2017 by the government, where it was expected to go in line with the SDGs on inclusive, equitable and quality education.

The change into a new curriculum saw the Ministry of Education face hurdles as they had to train existing teachers on how to learn the new teaching methods.

On the other hand they drafted a way to come up with new teachers being trained solely on how to execute the competence based learning methods.

Quality education is, however, dependent on the service providers who impart learners with knowledge and competence in schools, this meant that teachers had to be trained further to be able deliver.

The Ministry of Education in 2019 phased out the training of P1 teachers in all the teacher training colleges countrywide, and the raising of the entry grade to ‘C’ to colleges as part of  the educational reforms, to improve the quality of education in Kenya.

Teachers are key players in providing quality and competent learning in schools in Kenya, this is according to David Ng’etich, a teacher trainer in Tambach Teachers Training College in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Ng’etich who is also the Dean of Curriculum Development in the college, says that the college is currently training teachers under the Diploma programs, which will see the churning out of more competent teachers.

The training of teachers in colleges has been upgraded, where they are trained at Diploma level in Primary Teacher Education, which is offered in twelve colleges and is currently taking three years compared to two years that was previously offered under the P1.

He said that the institution has already rolled out the training of teachers, who will be competent to guide learners under the CBC.

“One of the core competencies in CBC is creativity and imagination and in the upgrade nine professional courses have been introduced that engage teachers to bring out creativity and facilitating techniques,” Ng’etich said.

The Dean believes that the teacher should be trained well enough especially under the new curriculum in order to bring out the competence and creativity that is required.

“Initially, trained teachers used to go for teaching practice for a period of two weeks compared to the current curriculum that requires them to go for practicum for three terms in the entire course with one term per year,” he said.

He added that the quality of learning offered in training institutions will reflect on the kind of teachers from the colleges and on the pupils and students.

Daniel Kiptoo, a student at Tambach Teachers College who is currently upgrading to the new diploma program, says that the content being administered is not lecture based but rather in groups which according to him is getting them better equipped as teachers.

Kiptoo who has previously been teaching in both public and private schools foresees the challenge of being unable to deliver ICT based learning as some schools in the rural areas lack electricity and network connectivity.

Violet Kirui, a teacher currently training for the upgrade at the same college, says that as teachers, if better equipped with the necessary skills they will produce better quality learners in the near future.

On the other hand the teacher raised a pertinent issue on the government’s effort to put in place reliable structures that will enable teachers to deliver more on their roles as facilitators in the realization of quality education.

“There is a challenge on the teacher learners’ ratio that is a factor where delivery is concerned. The ratio needs to be average for the teacher to understand the needs of each pupil,” she said.

While, noting that teachers should have adequate training, Nge’tich said that while assessing the teachers the trainers use the methods used to assess learners to gauge whether the trainees are ready to go to the field.

The Teacher Service Commission (TSC) in October 2021 launched the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) Programme, that will see teachers renew their professional certificates after every five (5) years.

A credible source in the Teachers Service Commission, says that the rolling out of the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) will help teachers deliver more as professionals, since it helps nurture professionalism and keep them informed on emerging trends in the sector.

The source adds that a trained teacher from college or university, is not well versed with handling issues as a professional, hence the introduction of the TPD which makes them well developed to handle real issues in the line of duty.

Viola Kipchumba, a parent with children under the new curriculum, said that she expects the teachers who are training her children to be competent enough to deliver in their role.

She adds that the new curriculum is expensive to run as a parent, however, she sees it as a better way of imparting competence to learners as they go through the curriculum.

By Walter Kibet

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