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ODOTE: Resolve impasse over entry grades amicably

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The war of words between the Education ministry and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) over the lowering of entry grades to teacher training colleges calls for a quick resolution.

While the attorney-general has stopped the ministry from lowering the entry grades saying it is the mandate of the teacher’ employer, the plight of thousands of students who had already been admitted should not be forgotten.

The Kenya National Qualification Authority had lowered the entry grades following a drop in the number of students seeking to join teachers training colleges.

Thus the decision to lower the entry grade for students seeking to study for a diploma in education to C minus from C plain was as a result of the falling enrolment rate.

Those seeking a certificate of education were being admitted with a D plus instead of a C plain.

The Teachers Service Commission argued that lowering the entry grades would dilute the quality of students and education. This is a valid point in that we have to maintain the integrity of our learning institutions. We urge the main stakeholders to sit down together and come up with a workable solution. The Education ministry should also ensure that it does not ignore the input of a critical player in the sector, the teachers employer.

And as the State Law Office has directed, role of setting entry grades belongs to TSC.

There are very pertinent questions that should be resolved in seeking to end the stalemate.

Why are there few students enrolling in the colleges? Could it be that university education minimum entry grades are now seen as a better priority than teacher training college education? What kind of teachers would be churned out by lowering the entry grades to these institutions? Would pupils get the right education if they are taught by these teachers?

What will happen to the thousands of students who had already paid fees under the now abolished rules?

The main stakeholders should find a long-term solution that will ensure that the education sector has enough, well trained teachers.

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