The Ministry of Education has embarked on a process that will see harmonisation of the curriculum used to train teachers in universities and colleges across the country.
According to a policy document authored by the ministry and dubbed “Sessional Paper on Reforming Education and Training for Sustainable Development 2018”, the ministry wants to standardise the training curriculum, including teaching practice.
The document has been sent to the National Assembly for debate.
The ministry also plans to develop mechanisms for rebranding the profession so that it can attract the top students in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.
“Develop guidelines for employment of teacher educators and introduce compulsory internships for trainers for a specified period,” the paper says, outlining one of the objectives that the policy has been crafted to achieve.
Another objective, according to the document, is to: “Develop a mechanism for attracting the best brains into the profession for innovativeness.”
The ministry also plans to reform the teacher education curriculum to reflect the aspirations of the Constitution and Vision 2030, with a shift to the competency approach.
There is also plan to upgrade the capacity of the teacher educators to meet the required standards and develop and implement a comprehensive teacher education and training, management and professional development policy.
According to the sessional paper, the training of teachers faces several challenges, among them lack of lecturers with relevant secondary school teaching experience.
There is also lack of standardised teacher education curricula at university level, leading to discrepancies in the quality of graduates. For that reason, the profession is not marketable and hence attracts people who have no passion for it, the paper says.
The other reason for the poor state of teacher competency, adduced in the document, is that teacher educators receive no continuing professional development to enable them keep abreast with changes in the education industry.
“There is a weak link between teacher training colleges and higher education institutions, especially universities,” the document says.
The primary schoolteacher education also faces a myriad of challenges, among them lack of a curriculum for trainers.
“A majority of trainers lack relevant primary school teaching experience to keep them in sync with current practices. The initial teacher education curriculum for primary schoolteachers requires periodic review to conform to classroom changing demands,” the paper says.
It ads that there is no clear policy framework for teacher education at primary level.
“There is no clear career and professional route to becoming a teacher educator at the training institutions,” reads the document.
The government has announced plans to phase out the two-year certificate courses and replace them with a three-year diploma programmes for primary schoolteachers.