The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is seeking an additional Sh27 billion to hire more teachers and pay the their annual salary increment.
A total of Sh13 billion would be required to implement a collective bargaining agreement that comes into force from July, Sh6.5 billion to recruit 10,000 teachers, Sh3.5 billion for ongoing staff replacements and Sh3.9 billion for salary increments and promotions, TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia told the National Assembly's Education Committee on Thursday.
The commission wants its budget increased from Sh226 billion to Sh253.6 billion.
She said allocations for recruitment of teachers are never enough and asked for funds to hire 80,000 intern teachers to plug staff shortages in schools.
"We need these interns so that they can help us in addressing the shortage as we look for money to hire teachers on permanent terms," she said.
The MPs approved her request for interns and asked her to prepare a policy document and give it to them before Monday.
Committee chairman Julius Melly said the move was appropriate since it could boost the quality of education.
ODM-nominated MP Wilson Sossion, who is also the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary-general, also supported the proposal: "These interns will go a long way in plugging this shortage."
Mrs Macharia told the committee that the more than 100,000 teachers in secondary schools are overworked because of a student population surge following the introduction of the 100 percent transition policy.
She said primary schools require 37,643 more teachers while secondary ones need 49,750, bringing the shortage to 87,393 teachers.
The country has 317,010 teachers in both primary and secondary schools, while those who are qualified but jobless are 300,000.
Mrs Macharia said 1,650 teachers with a bachelor of education degree have recently attained higher qualifications, with 1,635 graduating with masters, 11 with post-graduate diplomas and four with doctorates.
She said such teachers will be promoted soon. On curriculum reforms, she said training of teachers is ongoing.
"Curriculum support officers visit the schools weekly to carry out lesson observation and provide instructional advisory services to teachers," she said.
She said phase three, four and five will be carried out in April, August and December; and will involve 110,000 teachers for Grade 1, 2 and 3, once TSC has receives funds from the National Treasury.
The official said the commission will mount in-service programmes continuously to guide the teachers on the new curriculum.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed told the committee that schools are experiencing congestion due to increased enrolment.
"We are asking for your support in order to ensure that 100 percent transition policy is realised and all students are able to get good quality education," she said.