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Universities Promoise to offer education degree in September despite TSC protests

Universities have opted to offer the Bachelor of Education degree in September despite a proposal by the TSC to scrap it.

It has been established that the course is among the programmes universities declared as available in the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) for students to apply for either as Bachelor of Education (Arts), or Bachelor of Education (Science), bachelor of education (special needs) or agricultural extension and education as has been in the previous years.

Universities are also offering the Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) and Bachelor of Education in ICT as they seek to integrate digital skills in teacher training.

The 2020 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam candidates began revising their degree courses on May 24.

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The application and revision of the degree courses will be closed on June 11 to enhance the distribution of students to universities before the start of the September semester.

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has proposed that universities scrap the programme and introduce a three-year degree in Bachelor of Arts or Science.

Students wishing to become teachers will then be required to pursue a post-graduate diploma in education before they are employed by TSC.

The interim chairperson of deans of education for universities, Dr Ciriara Gitonga, said the institutions will still admit students in the programme because the proposal by the TSC is yet to be adopted.

“We are still treating the information as a proposal because stakeholders have not concluded on it yet,” said Dr Gitonga as she sought to reassure university students currently pursuing the B.Ed programme.

Dr Gitonga said the deans will give a professional response to the TSC proposal by the end on the week.

The principal of University of Nairobi’s College of education, Prof Isaac Jumba, said the institution is ready to admit Bachelor of Education degree students in September as information on a change of programme has not been communicated to them.

“We are admitting education students in September,” he said.

Prof Jumba said before 1979, when the B.Ed degree was introduced, students would take a general degree in arts and science for three years, then proceed to a one-year diploma programme.

“At the time, there were complaints that students lacked the pedagogical skills and that’s why universities decided to introduce the B.Ed degree for four years to inculcate the pedagogical skills in the basics of their training,” said Prof Jumba.

At the moment, universities are treating the TSC document as a proposal which needs a sober debate, he added.

Mount Kenya University Communications Officer Boniface Murigi said the university has already declared 1,000 vacancies for the education degree students.

“The university is also admitting privately sponsored students to pursue the degree in the May intake as the TSC document is at the proposal stage,” said Mr Murigi.

The Bachelor of Education is among the popular degrees pursued by students. When it was introduced in the country in 1979, it was moved from the University of Nairobi to Kenyatta University, which was then a constitute college of the former.

UoN reintroduced the programme in 1988. However, Kenyatta University remains the mother of the B.Ed degree programme, attracting the largest number of students.

Currently, 56 public and private universities offer the course.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha defended the move to scrap the programme, saying it will enable seamless implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

“Change is the only thing that is constant the world over. This is the right time for scholars to think and decide whether it is the time to do things differently,” he said.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said the move will close opportunities for teachers.

“This action by TSC closes all opportunities for any current serving teachers to proceed for further studies. It permanently closes any upward mobility of the current serving teachers and it amounts to variation of terms of the current serving teachers,” said Mr Sossion.

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