Universities Will offer Bachelor of Education degree in September despite TSC Move To Scrap The Course.
Universities will offer the Bachelor of Education degree (B.Ed) in September despite a proposal by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to scrap the programme.
The course is listed among the programmes universities declared as available to the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS).
The universities have advised students to apply for either Bachelor of Education, Arts, or Bachelor of Education, Science, as has been the norm.
Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) and Bachelor of Education in ICT are also offered in universities.
The revision and application of degree courses for the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates began on May 24 and will be closed on June 11.
The placement service to distribute students to universities will be done before the commencement of the September semester.
TSC had proposed that universities scrap the programme and introduce a 3-year degree in Bachelor of Arts or Science. Students wishing to pursue a teaching career will then be compelled to proceed with a post-graduate diploma in education before being considered for employment by TSC.
The interim chairperson of deans of education for universities, Dr Ciriara Gitonga, stated that the institutions will still admit students in the programme because the recommendation by the teachers’ employer is yet to be adopted.
“We are still treating the information as a proposal because stakeholders have not concluded on it yet,” said Dr Gitonga reassuring university students currently pursuing the B.Ed programme. Dr Gitonga said the deans will issue a professional response to the TSC proposal by the end of the week.
And at the University of Nairobi, the principal of the College of education, Prof Isaac Jumba, maintained that admission of Bachelor of Education degree students in September is still on since no information on a change of programme has been communicated to them.
“We are admitting education students in September,” he said. Prof Jumba said that the proposed recommendations by TSC existed back before 1979 when the B.Ed degree was introduced. During the time, students would take a general degree in arts and science for 3 years, before proceeding to a one-year diploma programme.
“At the time, there were complaints that students lacked the pedagogical skills and that’s why universities decided to introduce the B.Ed degree for four years to inculcate the pedagogical skills in the basics of their training,” said Prof Jumba.
He added that at the moment, universities are handling the TSC document as a proposal that needs a sober debate.
According to Mount Kenya University (MKU), Communications Officer Boniface Murigi, the university has already announced 1,000 vacancies for education degree students.
“The university is also admitting privately sponsored students to pursue the degree in the May intake as the TSC document is at the proposal stage,” said Mr Murigi.
The Bachelor of Education is one of the most popular degrees pursued by students in universities and colleges. It was introduced in Kenya in 1979 when it was moved from the University of Nairobi to Kenyatta University, which by then used to be a constitute college of the former.
In 1988, UoN reintroduced the programme but still, Kenyatta University remains the mother of the B.Ed degree programme in East Africa, attracting the largest number of students.
Currently, a total of 56 public and private universities in Kenya have been approved to offer the course.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Professor George Magoha backed the move to scrap the programme, stating that it will enable seamless implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).
“Change is the only thing that is constant the world over. This is the right time for scholars to think and decide whether it is the time to do things differently,” he said.
Opposition From Unions
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said the move will shut opportunities for teachers.
“This action by TSC closes all opportunities for any current serving teachers to proceed for further studies. It permanently closes any upward mobility of the current serving teachers and it amounts to variation of terms of the current serving teachers,” said Mr Sossion.
Uasu-KU Chapter Vice Chairperson Wilfridah Itolondo led other officials from the institution in condemning the TSC document.
“The union will reject the document because what the TSC wants to do is to scrap Bachelor of Education program so that all students are just admitted for Bachelor of Arts or Science. It was done without consultation,” said Itolondo, in a press conference last week in Nairobi.
Uasu said that a degree programme is unchangeable if not based on scientific research, adding that TSC should explain the problem with the programme at the moment.
“If there is something wrong with the programme, the best thing to do is to propose to improve it, not to scrap it. TSC is trying to sneak in the idea and that is wrong because you are making it look like becoming a teacher is an afterthought,” said Itolondo.
They also stated that TSC is trying to relate Bachelor of Education with other courses like Medicine or Law.
“When people go for Bachelor of Medicine, they start as doctors from the first year up to the end, you do not become a medic when you are in the fourth year, it is the same in Law or Architecture. Students are supposed to go with their line of the profession from the very beginning,” they said.
The lecturers said the practice was tried before but it did not work adding that the contention is that they were caught by surprise.
“TSC says they want to implement in September this year and that is why we have come out to resist that because already there are people out there with Bachelor of Arts degree and still unemployed,” Itolondo added.
TSC further recommends that there be a Postgraduate Diploma in Teacher Education to cater for Teacher Education learning areas, in preparing teacher educators who will be training the pre-service teachers at the Teacher.
Universities Will offer Bachelor of Education degree in September despite TSC Move To Scrap The Course