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Friday, September 25, 2020

Shock as TSC sends 3,000 P1 trainees home over low grades

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P1 Trainees: BY The Standard: At least 3,000 teacher trainees admitted to pursue P1 courses in public and private colleges are set to be sent home following a directive by the Ministry of Education.

Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang has confirmed that the Legal Notice, which had lowered grades for admission to the teacher training colleges, has been revoked.

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In a letter to the eight Regional Directors of Education, the PS instructed them to ensure all public and private colleges only train students who attained the minimum entry requirement of C plain for certificate courses (P1) and C+ for diploma courses.

The letter dated April 26 and copied to County Directors of Education countrywide gives the students the option of joining technical training colleges.

Last year, former Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed lowered the entry grades to C- for diploma and D plain for certificate courses.

But the move was roundly rejected by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), which argued it was legally mandated to determine training standards.

The Office of the Attorney General supported the TSC, which later moved to court. But the Office of the President brokered a deal that led to the parties agreeing to withdraw the Legal Notice and, also, for the TSC to get out of the court.

Kipsang’s letter on the P1 trainees said: “You are hereby directed to bring to the attention of all principals of teacher training colleges, public and private, that entry grades for persons entering teacher training colleges shall remain as prescribed in legal notice No.50 of 2016.”

Last month, TSC, Education Cabinet Secretary, Kenya National Qualifications Authority and Attorney-General agreed to quash the order in a consent signed before Justice Weldon Korir.

This is after TSC sued former Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed insisting that it was the only institution that could lower entry grade to teachers training colleges.

TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia had, in a paid advert, in local dailies recently, announced that those joining Teachers Training Colleges (TTC) for a two-year certificate course must have C plain in KCSE examinations.

Dr Macharia maintained that the commission has the mandate to review the entry grade and therefore will not register any teacher who does not meet the requirements.

“A person shall not engage in any form of teaching unless registered by TSC,” said Macharia.

The AG’s office, in an advisory last year told Amina Mohamed that she had powers to lower entry grades to TTCs.

The AG said only TSC is mandated to prescribe the entry qualifications.

The AG, in the advisory described Ms Mohamed’s move as irregular: “The TSC is the state organ with the constitutional power and mandate to set the minimum qualifications for persons entering the teaching service.”

“There is no law that vests the Cabinet Secretary or the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) with power to set such standards and were it to be there, it would be unconstitutional and therefore null and void to the extent of its unconstitutionality.”

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