Kenya: TSC's Community-Based Learning Plan Rocked By Confusion

12 August 2020

Confusion marred the first day of the community-based learning plan Wednesday as it got off to a slow start across the country.

A spot check by the Nation established that most teachers were unaware that they were supposed to have registered with Teachers Service Commission (TSC) field officials.

Chiefs and their assistants, who will be central in the implementation of the programme, were also in the dark about their role as they had not received any communication from the ministry.

Also caught up in the confusion are parents and learners, who lack proper information on how the government intends to keep learners busy as they await reopening of schools in January.

According to a circular released on Tuesday by TSC boss Nancy Macharia, county and sub-county directors are expected to coordinate the programme in collaboration with officials from the Education, Health and Interior ministries.

Work seamlessly

"You are expected to work seamlessly as a team and put in place strategies to coordinate, monitor and supervise the teaching and learning at sub-county and zonal level," the circular reads.

Ms Macharia further instructs teachers employed by TSC to register with sub-county directors and curriculum support officers by August 12. Learning will, however, not take place in schools. Ms Macharia proposed that teachers identify suitable places such as community halls and open spaces for teaching.

"The objective of the programme is to engage learners in productive activities with a view to acquiring basic knowledge related to the pandemic and other practical life skills," she said.

Activities

The activities TSC has suggested include weeding, cultivating, grazing animals, storytelling, planting, debating life issues, hygiene and other related activities. Teachers are also expected to conduct learning activities with regard to reading, numeracy and other subjects.

The Interior ministry, through the Nyumba Kumi iniative, is expected to ensure all learners participate in the programme.

"We have not received official communication but I saw a letter on WhatsApp indicating that the programme will start on September 12," said Kenyenya Deputy County Commissioner David Mbevi.

Teachers who spoke to the Nation in Kisii said they had not received guidelines on the plan.

"We are on standby in case we receive the guidelines," said Kereri Girls High School principal Teresia Atieno.

Plan for execution

In Vihiga, county and national government officials held a meeting Wednesday to plan for the execution of the programme. Kedoli assistant chief Fred Adika said they were asked to identify places where learning would take place.

TSC County Director Irene Njogu said they were in the process of relaying the communication from the headquarters.

In Kericho and Bomet counties, the programme did not take off.

"It will be a major challenge for the TSC, especially the supervision of teachers," said Bomet Knut secretary Malel Langat.

In Siaya, teachers were yet to start registering for the programme.

However, in Homa Bay, County Director Solomon Bilon said his officers had started identifying areas where teachers live.

In the Coast region, teachers asked the government to provide them with personal protective equipment against coronavirus.

"The government should also map out Covid-19 hotspots. A little allowance will also help," said Knut official Dan Aloo.

In Nyeri, county director Elijah Omwega said the programme would help learners continue with their studies.

In Laikipia, Nyahururu deputy county commissioner Patrick Muli said they were awaiting details from education officials regarding the programme.

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