Bachelor of Education students at Pwani University in Kilifi County have asked the government to incorporate the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) modules as a unit in their four-year under graduate programme.
They said this would enable students get the knowledge required by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for licensing without them (students) having to be subjected to continuous learning at their cost.
Led by the Pwani University Students Association (PUSA) Secretary General Miss Lavender Okello, the students said they were opposed to the programme and threatened to seek court redress claiming the teachers’ employer violated the Constitution by not subjecting the proposal to public participation.
Miss Okello said she would mobilize all education undergraduate students in Kenya to oppose the programme that she said would increase the financial woes of teachers since the employer wanted the teachers to pay for the modules.
I have tried to talk to the Kenya University Students Association but the leadership seems to be afraid to talk about TPD. As a leader representing education students, I will mobilize all education undergraduate students in the country to fight for our rights,” she said.
She lamented that many teachers who had graduated from university and other teacher training institutions had remained jobless for years and wondered where the unemployed teachers would get the money to study the modules.
Miss Okello said if the programme has to be implemented, the government should emulate Ghana, which she said introduced an allowance for teachers to undertake the TPD programme.
“I urge the government to instead include the TPD programme in one of our course units so that when we graduate from university, we will have the skills required by the teachers’ employer and we will not have to go back to class for the same,” she said.
Her sentiments were supported by fellow Bachelor of Education undergraduate students at the university, who also wondered why the government had chosen just a few institutions to implement the course instead of using all the public universities.
Omina Folics said when students graduate, their first priority is to start repaying Higher Education Loans Board loans granted to them during their university years and introducing another cost for them was punitive.
She said the TPD programme would discourage prospective teachers from pursuing courses in education saying they would view the profession as punitive, a factor that could have negative ramifications to the education sector in the future.
Alphonce Owiti said since the TSC had violated the constitution, the only remedy for teachers was to petition the court, adding that students would mobilize resources to seek the intervention of the Judiciary.