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Shocker for students admitted into teacher training colleges as Education Ministry is blocked from lowering entry points

Students at the Murang'a Teachers Training College, TTC.
Students at the Murang'a Teachers Training College, TTC.

It is a sad turn of events for hundreds of students admitted to Teacher Training  Colleges with lower entry points this year. This after the Attorney General, Kihara Kariuki, stopped the Education Ministry from interfering with the admissions of student teachers by lowering the entry grades. In his advice, the AG holds that it is the Teachers Service Commission, TSC, that is constitutionally mandated to set entry points for student teachers.

“In view of the foregoing analysis, the Commission is by dint of the Constitution, the state organ with the constitutional power and mandate to set the minimum qualifications for persons entering the teaching service,” reads an advisory opinion by the Attorney General (AG) dated 26th November, 2018. The Circular is sent to the TSC boss, Dr. Nancy Macharia, and copied to the Ministry of Education’s Cabinet Secretary (Dr. Amina Mohammed) and the Director General to the Kenya National Qualification Authority (KNQA), Juma Mukhwana.

The AG says both the Education Ministry and the Kenya National Qualification Authority have no mandate in setting teachers’ trainee entry points adding there is no law that guarantees the two powers to set the grades. “This power is encapsulated in the Commission’s (Teachers Service Commission) duty to review the standards of education and training for persons entering the teaching service. There is no law that vests the cabinet Secretary (of Education) or KNQA with power to set such standards and were it to be there, it would be unconstitutional and therefore null and void to the extent of its unconstitutionality,” the AG advised.

In September this year, 2018, KNQA lowered the entry grade to teachers training colleges from a C+ plus to a C plain for students joining to pursue Diploma in Education and from a C plain to a D+ plus for those intending to study a Certificate Course in teaching (P1).

Students at the Murang'a Teachers Training College, TTC.
Students at the Murang’a Teachers Training College, TTC.

“In the Spirit of these provisions of the law and following the Kenya National Qualification Framework Regulations, the entry grades to primary teacher training and Diploma teachers training for prospective teacher trainees from the Nomadic counties of Kenya is hereby lowered from the date of this letter until otherwise advised,” reads, in part, a circular by the Education Ministry’s Cabinet Secretary (Dr. Amina Mohammed) dated 15th October, 2018.

The Circular lists these nomadic counties as: Turkana, Samburu, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Lamu, Tana River, West Pokot, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Homa Bay (Mbita and Suba Subcounties only), and selected parts of Narok, Baringo, and Kajiado Counties.

The students from these counties who had already enrolled into the teacher training colleges with lower grades will be awaiting if the Teachers Service Commission will review its recruitment requirements to accommodate them or the TSC will stand its ground and use the current requirements.

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