The Kenyan government has lifted a 10-year employment embargo and announced extra funding for education, though the measures fall short of what is required to ensure adequate allocation of teachers.
Recruitment of teachers was stopped by the government in 1998, in a move that was intended to cut on spending on the education sector. Yet in 2003 free primary education was introduced, which instantly caused enrolment to soar.
Since then the payroll was constantly kept at 235,000 teachers.
An extra Sh2.5 billion has now been allocated to education to employ 11,000 teachers, though 7,000 of these will replace those who have resigned, retired or died, while Sh7.3 billion has been allocated to finally pay instalments of a salary award negotiated in 1997 but deferred by successive governments.
While this is clearly a step in the right direction, the government’s announcement falls well short of eradicating the problem of teacher shortage.
According to the secretary-general of EI affiliate the Kenya National Union of Teachers, Mr Francis Ng'ang'a, the country needs 60,000 additional teachers.