Students from minority groups, marginalised regions and the less privileged in society lack opportunities and a good environment to excel in education. Consequently, the lower grades they attain in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams are not due lack of intelligence, but as a result of environmental challenges.
Strict stand by TSC that it will not lower qualification grades for those seeking teaching courses for primary and secondary schools is not only a violation of the Constitution, but also a contravention of Unesco, Unicef and World Bank Group’s conventions and treaties on teachers’ career progression, remuneration and motivation.
It has never been the duty of TSC to set entry cut-off grades for those seeking to join teaching colleges. This is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, University Councils, Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service, Commission for University Education and Kenya National Qualifications Authority.
TSC mandate is only to review the standards of education and training of persons entering the teaching service, and rightly make a report for onward transmission to the national government in the form of advice.
Top universities like Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, and even our Nairobi, Kenyatta and Moi have bridging programmes. These are short intensive learning programmes designed to help students gain skills or knowledge needed for higher education.
Thousands of P1 teachers have acquired diplomas which they have used to gain university admission. It is wrong for TSC to direct that teachers who did not attain a mean grade of C+ in KCSE will not teach in secondary schools even if they have attained a degree.
The commission is advancing an irrational argument that the new policy would improve teaching standards, forgetting that we have distinguished and world-acclaimed professors who scored grade C or C- (or equivalent) and enrolled in teacher training colleges and after doing bridging courses, were admitted to university.
Historical injustices and regional differences make it hard to gauge students the same way, hence the need for equity. Hence, the decision to lower entry grade to TTCs and universities should be based on affirmative action as observed in the Constitution.