Why Gen Z no longer want to be teachers

Kenya could be heading to a teacher shortage crisis as the young generation demoralized by corruption, low pay and delays in getting absorbed by the Teachers Service Commission, shun the profession.

Latest data from Ministry of Education on enrolment at Teachers Training Colleges (TTC’s) across the country shows only 21 percent of the positions offered in the institutions have actually been taken up.

Although the total capacities across all the TTC’s stand at 28,070, currently only a mere 6002 have applied to join the training colleges. And the shortage is not just among young people joining the cadres, teachers are looking to leave the profession rather than advance to senior roles. TSC has been advertising for over 1000 senior positions and getting no applications.

Since last December, TSC has seemingly failed to attract enough applicants for the roles of chief principals, principals, deputy principals and other senior posts to fill the vacancies in the institutions lacking them.

TTCs struggling to get students

For the past six months they have been advertising, re-advertising, pushing and extending deadlines seeking to get applicants for the 1001 vacant positions but it has been to no avail.

Teaching provides a huge chunk of jobs in Kenya with the current number of total employed teachers in Kenya by the TSC standing at 346,760. However, this number hides the fact that there is already an ongoing teacher shortage  considering

Kenya’s current student-teacher ratio stands at 40 students per teacher and in some parts almost 70:1.

To fix the shortage or reduce the gap, TSC has been employing on average 21,000 teachers comprising 12000 interns and 9000 permanent and pensionable teachers. This also includes the provision of 1000 more teachers as emergency due to natural attrition such as death, retirement, interdiction etc. 

But high cut off points, few available slots as compared to the number of graduates and corruption in securing the limited positions has been discouraging young people from venturing into the profession.

Kenya’s teacher training programmes for the lowest levels of primary school eliminate a huge chunk of secondary school students with a minimum C plain requirement to join a TTC. On the other hand, the universities need you to have a C+ overall and additionally have a C+  and above in the subject you’re applying to teach.

P1 interns salary

This means that out of the 881,416 who sat for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams in 2022 only 173,345 which translates to around 19.7 percent of the candidates got a C+ and were eligible to get into the undergraduate programmes in our universities.

Most of the students who graduate from college join the profession as interns, before turning into permeant and pensionable employees.

Out of the 12,000 interns some will be P1 (Primary 1) teachers and others will be JSS (Junior Secondary School) teachers. For P1 interns, they receive a stipend of Kes15,000 per month while the JSS interns receive KES 20,000.

Considering the state of the economy, one might argue the interns are underpaid and overworked considering the scope of work, investment put into their education and the false promises the government gave.

Why Gen Z no longer want to be teachers.

A P1 graduate, who has been out for two years, says the slow pace of absorption is frustrating. On average, one has to wait at least three years to get a chance at internship.

She said even then the recruiters will be asking her a bribe of up to Kes150,000 to stand a chance at becoming an intern earning Kes15,000 meaning she would still work ten months for free to recoup her ‘investment’.

Read also: Coop cuts loan rates for teachers, police

Shifting government policies

Shifting government policies has also meant that one has to go back to school after graduating following decision to phase out P1 qualification. The TSC is urging teachers to go for Postgraduate diploma in education to fit into CBC requirements. This call is simply an additional cost.

Corruption has also played a role in the dwindling interest in application for the TSC jobs. For graduates, about half of the available slots in a constituency are controlled by politicians. The rest of the candidates have to battle it out for the remaining few slots. This high stakes game means applicants have to turn to bribes to get a chance.

This sorry state of affairs alone is enough to discourage the applicants and cause a dwindling interest in the profession.

The old general perception of the respectability of being a “mwalimu” has deteriorated overtime. Today less and less people are looking forward to applying and becoming teachers due to poor compensations, to bad working conditions, late remunerations that has seen the industry rocked by constant labour strikes.

The profession is now facing its greatest challenge in the barriers to entry, the dwindling returns amid rising cost of living that makes entry level pay look like peanuts.

[email protected] & [email protected]

Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox, every month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

One thought on “Why Gen Z no longer want to be teachers

  • I’m impressed, I have to say. Actually hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you could have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the issue is one thing that not enough individuals are talking intelligently about. I’m very glad that I stumbled across this in my search for one thing regarding this.

Comments are closed.