Data: Half of The Teachers are From Only 3 Communities
Half of the country’s 346,760 tutors on the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) payroll are drawn from three ethnic communities, new data has revealed, highlighting the disparities in the country’s education system. According to data presented to the National Assembly committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunities by the teachers employer, the Kalenjin community accounts for 59,538 of its employees, almost tying with the Kikuyu (59,010) and the Luhya (52,882), all totaling 171,430 teachers, nearly half of the TSC workforce.
The data further shows that some 40,657 are from the Luo community, Kamba (39,807), Kisii (30,317) while 22,164 are Meru. The Mijikenda account for 8,745 teachers followed by the Embu (5,700) Maasai (5,245), Taita (3,248), Pokot (3,138), Samburu (1,438), Turkana (1,358) and Tharaka and Borana with 1,295 and 1,200 respectively. Communities with the lowest number are Hawiya at just nine teachers, Murulle (14), El Molo (15) and Gosha, Njemps and Sakuye with 16, 24, and 28 respectively. TSC has also employed 21 teachers of Arab descent, nine Kenyan Asians, three foreigners and one Kenyan European.
When she presented the data,
committee chair Adan Haji Yussuf asked TSC Secretary Nancy Macharia to explain the ethnic disparities in employment. Macharia defended the commission saying members of some ethnic communities, especially in the far-flung parts of the country, have demonstrated the teaching sector comprises heads of teaching institutions and deputies both at primary and post primary level. “Currently the Commission has 37,243 primary school teachers and 16,128 post primary teachers at senior management level coming from various ethnic backgrounds.
Majority of teachers at senior management level are within the age bracket of 50 to 58 years,” said Macharia. Out of the 53,371 teachers at senior management level, 34,912 are male while 18,459 are female. “Female teachers represent 35 per cent of the total teachers at senior management level. A total of 1,268 teachers at senior management level are persons with disability,” explained Macharia.
The Commission has a total of 59,424 teachers at middle level comprising senior teachers in primary schools and senior masters in post primary schools. Majority of teachers at the middle level are women at 58.6 per cent and the age distribution of teachers at this level indicates that a majority are within the age bracket of 44 to 57 years.
Macharia said the low level cadre carries the majority of teachers currently at 233,965 teachers. This comprises teachers at grades B5 and C1 for primary school teachers and grades C3 and C2 for secondary school teachers, with women out- numbering men by 6,675 at this level. Also in this category, a majority of primary teachers are from the Kalenjin community at 24,144 followed by Kikuyu at 21,540, Luhya and Luo at 21,943 and 16,574 respectively. For the Commission’s Secretariat, she said it has a total of 2,842 Secretariat staff deployed across the country from 35 communities.
Of the 2,842 Secretariat, 54 per cent are women while 46 per cent are men, which follow observance of equal opportunities for men and women and progressive affirmative action for any disadvantaged group under Article 27 of the Constitution. Members of Kalenjin, Kikuyu and Luhya communities form majority of TSC staff apathy for recruitment. She also pointed a finger at the National Assembly’s Education committee saying it was partly to blame for the huge imbalance in the ethnic distribution of teachers by pushing for the revision in the mode of employment.
“The Commission wanted to employ and deploy according to the needs of regions but the committee rejected that model and said teachers should be shared equally to all counties and our hands were tied,” Macharia told the committee. She also insisted that TSC had embraced fair competition and merit as the basis of appointments and promotions by advertising for vacant positions in its staff establishment, conducting employment interviews, selecting and appointing staff while adhering to requirements for workforce with national outlook. Subject combination Macharia also outlined to the committee the challenges the teachers’ employer faces in enhancing diversity of employees, which includes subject combination.
“In highly technical areas, the emphasis is often on the professional qualifications a candidate holds as opposed to the considerations of age, gender, ethnicity or disability,” she explained. “For instance, during recruitment and posting of teachers at post-primary institutions key consideration is the applicant’s subject combination. It is noted that majority of female teachers and PWDs tend to avoid STEM subject combination,” she added.
Macharia explained that insecurity also hinders learning, which in turn results in the general disparity in competency levels among population in different parts of the country. This, she said, is also reflected in employment proportion of communities from relatively stable areas. She noted that sometimes, a majority of people living with disabilities do not have the requisite training in pedagogical skills and only possess certificates in diploma special education, a situation that disadvantages them during recruitment as they lack training in the required skills. “For instance, during recruitment, communities from ASAL areas are given additional five per cent slots. Also, the selection and interviewing tools or scorecard provides for enhanced score in the affected areas,” she added.
Macharia, however, said the commission is progressively seeking to achieve gender equity, regional balance and affirmative action for persons with disability. Similarly, she said, TSC has been allocating recruitment vacancies equally to counties to ensure regional balance. “The Commission through its advertisements for recruitment and promotion positions invites and encourages persons with disability to submit their applications for the positions,” she said. Prior to Constitution 2010, she said, the commission had a total of 257,769 teachers from various ethnic communities.
Back then, teachers from Kikuyu community were the highest at 51,432 followed by Luhya at 40,521 then Kalenjin at 38,253 while Kamba, Luo and Kisii followed with 30,134, 29,065 and 20,333 respectively. Age distribution Macharia also said the commission had employed 24,019 teachers from diverse ethnic backgrounds between July 2021 and July last year in three recruitment exercises. Teachers from the Kalenjin community were the highest to be employed at 4,484 followed by Luhya at 3,733, third were Kikuyu at 3,493 while Luo, Kamba and Kisii with 3,085, 2,914 and 2,272 respectively. Also, data presented to the committee showed that the age distribution of teachers’ ranges from 21 to 65 years majority of them being youths within the age bracket of 30 years to 40 years.