Ds Scholarship

Insisting on C+ is punishing candidates from needy backgrounds

Historical grievances and regional differences make it difficult to measure students in the same way, hence the need for justice. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Section 237 of the Constitution provides in part for the Teacher Service Commission (TSC) to review standards for education and training of persons entering the teaching service and to advise the national government on matters relating to the teaching profession.

Article 56 (b) and (c) of the same constitution states that the state shall establish affirmative action programs designed to ensure that minorities and marginalized groups, among others, have access to special opportunities in the educational and economic fields.

These articles give the Constitution’s clearest position on providing education and training to marginalized and disadvantaged minorities and Kenyans.

Students from minority groups and marginalized and disadvantaged areas of society lack opportunities and a good environment for excellence in education. Thus, the lower scores they obtained in the Kenya Primary Education Certificate and Kenya Secondary Education Certificate Examinations are not due to lack of intelligence, but as a result of environmental challenges.

TSC’s insistence that it will not lower qualification scores for those seeking primary and secondary school education courses is not only a violation of the constitution, but also a violation of UNESCO, UNICEF and World Bank Group conventions and treaties on teachers’ career advancement, reward and motivation.

It has never been the duty of the TSC to set the cut-off marks for those seeking admission to the teaching colleges. This is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the University Councils, the Central Employment Service for Universities and Colleges of Kenya, the Commission on University Education and the Kenya National Qualifications Authority.

The mandate of the TSC is only to review the education and training standards of persons entering the educational service, and to report a right for transmission to the national government in the form of advice.

Top universities like Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge and even Nairobi, Kenyatta and Moi have bridging programs. These are short, intensive educational programs designed to help students acquire the skills or knowledge necessary for higher education.

Thousands of P1 teachers have obtained diplomas that they have used to gain university admission. It is wrong for TSC to direct that teachers who did not have a C+ average score in KCSE would not teach in secondary schools even if they had a degree.

The committee makes an unreasonable argument that the new policy will improve teaching standards, forgetting that we have distinguished and internationally acclaimed professors who earned C or C- (or equivalent) grades, attended teacher training colleges and after taking transitional courses, was accepted into the university.

Historical grievances and regional differences make it difficult to measure students in the same way, hence the need for justice. Hence, the decision to lower enrollment scores for technical training centers and universities should be based on affirmative action as stated in the constitution.

Mr. Sison is a member of the Parliamentary Committees for Education and Work

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