Teachers will soon have to go back to class for refresher courses as the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) plans to set up a school to train all teachers. A recent research by the Commission shows that most teachers exhibit weaknesses in teaching strategies, preparation of professional records and poor classroom management.
Others show incompetency in handling learners with special needs and weak assessment and feedback skills.
The buck does not stop with classroom teachers only, as school administrators (Principals and Head Teachers) are not left behind, either. According to the TSC concept paper, some school heads and principals have poor resource utilization abilities. Others are not able to analyse books of accounts, communicate effectively with teachers and parents.
It is on these findings that the Commission proposes training sessions for teachers on classroom management, effective teaching approaches and professionalism.
“The over-arching goal of the Institute will be to enhance the quality of education by providing teachers, assisted by the education partners, with a formal structure for professional support and professional development,” reads the TSC policy document; in part.
In the new teachers’ appraisal system, teachers will be expected to undergo Teacher Professional Development (TPD) by undertaking refresher courses.
Before the Covid19 pandemic broke-out, the Commission had already contracted institutions that will be offering the refresher training programme modules. The new institute will be tasked with establishing procedures and criteria for the probation and full recognition of Teacher Professional Development (TPD) service providers. It will, at the same time, come up with procedures and criteria for the probation and full recognition of Teacher Professional Development (TPD) service providers.
The teachers will be expected to meet the training costs for the modules that will be offered during school holidays. Of importance to note is the fact that the training will be mandatory for all practicing teachers. A teacher who will fail to undertake the short courses would be deemed to have violated the TSC code of regulation and may face disciplinary action from the employer.
Already, Kenyatta University, Mount Kenya University, Riara University and Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI) had been identified to offer the Teacher Professional Development modules.
A teacher will be at liberty to choose an institution of his/ her choice where to take the TPD modules. Teacher Professional Development will continuously update teacher knowledge, skills, attitude and values encourage teachers’ learning communities.
The good news for teachers is that most of the TPD modules will be available online. “Many components of the TSC Teacher Professional Development programme will be available to teachers online and will be accessed through mobile phones,” said the the Commission, early this year.
The new institute will form strong basis for promotion of teachers through organisation of workshops and conferences and the publication of newsletters, research reports and articles on educational issues.
Other roles to be performed by the institute include to establish school-based support groups that will offer Coaching, mentoring, classroom observations, lesson study/action research, book/journal reviews and collaborative subject mastery development to teachers.