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### Enhancing Education Reforms: The Crucial Role of Teacher Training

Tuesday, February 13th, 2024 00:30 | By

In a previous setting, Moi Avenue Primary School students were captured in a KCPE examroom. PHOTO/Print

The examination of the strategies and tools utilized to evaluate the efficiency of teaching and learning, as derived from the insights of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reform (PWPER), presents an intriguing prospect for both educators and the industry.

Upon closer inspection, it becomes evident that these tools tend to shield policy makers, who play a pivotal role, while focusing on educators at the forefront of practice, irrespective of whether the outcomes are within their sphere of influence.

Our current system of performance assessment places a greater emphasis on tangible elements such as classrooms, textbooks, and delivered lessons, rather than on the actual learning and activities of children within the school environment.

However, the existing system is deemed ineffective due to the excessive collection of data in formats that do not lend themselves well to informed decision-making.

This ineffectiveness is exacerbated by the lack of active involvement by decision makers in enhancing the tools, leading to a disconnect with the challenges faced by lower-level employees responsible for data collection and tool utilization.

The cyclical nature of data collection and processing fails to provide timely feedback to schools, and when attempts are made, they often come too late in the process, necessitating a swift transition to the subsequent data collection phase.

The momentum and intensity of educational reforms in Kenya have not been sustained, primarily due to the failure of sector leadership to establish a cohesive framework for engaging with stakeholders and end users. This fragmented approach incrementally addresses issues, potentially alienating certain stakeholders.

A critical inquiry persists: Are we employing the appropriate tools and methodologies to measure learning effectively?

The concerns raised by teacher unions and individual educators are valid and warrant contextualized resolutions. The unions possess the leverage to influence the Ministry of Education, Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC), and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to reconsider regressive changes. Introducing Life Skills baseline and assessment tools could catalyze transformative progress in the sector.

The proposal by TSC to link teacher career advancement to specific skill sets and knowledge is commendable, yet it necessitates further refinement through close collaboration with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and other relevant partners.

Collaboration between the Ministry of Education and TSC is imperative to alleviate administrative burdens on headteachers, enabling them to dedicate time to supporting teachers and structuring professional development plans.

Moreover, TSC should establish a structured feedback mechanism for both appraisers and appraisees to provide insights not only on professional growth but also on the appraisal frequency and tool efficacy.

Teacher training institutions must allocate time to equip future educators with the requisite skills and knowledge for appraisal, ideally integrating this preparation during teaching practice to ensure readiness and proficiency among trainees.

The foundation for enhancing teacher quality is solid; the focus now should shift towards empowering teacher training colleges to produce a new generation of educators. Quality teachers are the cornerstone of a world-class education system.

Adequate resources and tools are essential for evaluating essential transversal skills such as communication, teamwork, adaptability, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, leadership, and emotional intelligence. These skills transcend specific job roles or industries, holding value for employers and communities worldwide.

— The author serves as an education and public policy expert at Tathmini Consulting —