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KNUT, KUPPET Caution TSC Against Replacing Teachers With Technology

The kenya national union of teachers, KNUT, has warned TSC against alleged plans to stop recruitment of teachers in future. Through its secretary general, Collins Oyuu, KNUT appreciated technology and its roles in education in the 21st century, but maintained that it cannot replace the classroom teacher, since the teacher does more than just the instruction role.

KNUT was reacting to the earlier concerns of teachers that TSC is laying grounds of freezing future teacher employments. A majority of teachers argued that with Kenya power and lightning company planning to connect all schools with internet and electricity, TSC was scheming on that to implement live streaming in schools with teacher deficits in certain subjects.

“Counties are not the same. Schools are not the same. We have gaps. Technology cannot replace teachers,” said Knut boss Collins Oyuu.

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KNUT’s concerns were supported by the Kenya union of post primary education teachers, KUPPET, which maintained that quality teaching also requires proper staffing, and that TSC should not consider stopping teacher recruitment because of technological advancements.

TSC on its part clarified that recruitment of teachers will not stop, but that live streaming of lessons will just help create equality in education and that the online teaching plan is meant to give learners access to quality education even during disruptions like the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) says it has trained 163,000 tutors to roll out virtual lessons that would be scaled up to cover most schools.

It, however, emerged that the ICT for schools plan requires the upscaling of internet connectivity. Many schools lack connectivity.

The plan, launched yesterday, ill see teachers from well-staffed schools with better facilities virtually share their classes with other institutions.

TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia said the prolonged disruption of learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic brought to the fore the need to continuously empower teachers to respond to emerging trends and challenges.  During Covid 19, most schools were unable to access online lessons due to inadequate facilities and poor internet connectivity.

Macharia said the commission has now accelerated its online teaching and learning, citing the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project launched yesterday.

Under the pilot programme targeting 12 schools, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and English will be livestreamed from the host schools.

During the two-month pilot phase, livestreaming will focus on sciences, mathematics and English lessons, delivered from two principal schools.

Alliance Girls High School and Machakos Boys, well-staffed institutions with better facilities, will have their teachers share lessons with students in satellite schools across 10 counties.

The two national schools have been paired with the satellite schools drawn from Isiolo, Kilifi, Bomet, Taita Taveta, Makueni and Kisii.

Macharia said the lessons will be interactive and collaborative through video and sound and learners will have a whole learning experience.

The programme targets Form Two students. Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli termed the project a game changer. “It provides an opportunity to share knowledge, equipment and apparatus. It is a shared opportunity in learning and teaching approaches,” said Indimuli. He, however, said schools will require high speed internet connectivity.

TSC had indicated there exists a teacher deficit of about 100,000 countrywide. Knut proposed hiring of at least 20,000 teachers every year to bridge the gap.

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