JSS Teachers to Teach Primary Subjects Due to Staffing Shortages
According to the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET), newly hired Junior Secondary School (JSS) teachers are often asked to teach primary school classes against their job descriptions. According to Sam Opondo, the executive secretary of the Siaya Branch, this behavior is inconsistent with their jobs, and in certain cases, JSS instructors are being requested to teach elementary school classes and subjects for which they have not been formally trained.
In some schools, KUPPET has observed strained relationships between institution heads and JSS teachers, which may be the result of non-graduate head teachers feeling inferior. Most newly hired JSS teachers were expected to teach in secondary schools under the 8-4-4 curriculum.
A JSS teacher who attended the Siaya County KUPPET Branch AGM expressed frustration, claiming that many of them are having difficulty and suspecting that heads with P1 degrees may have an inferiority complex.
Opondo underlined the value of professionalism among JSS colleagues and urged institution heads to demonstrate professionalism, administrative order, and support for JSS professors.
He also mentioned how junior high schools are now understaffed, with teachers frequently teaching more than 10 topics per day. Forcing them to teach additional courses in primary school when they are already overburdened in JSS is considered a violation of their rights.
According to the KUPPET Siaya Branch, many JSS institutions lack critical infrastructure and resources, making practical learning difficult or impossible. They also objected to schools paying JSS teachers a pittance for duties performed outside of the school grounds.
An unnamed second JSS educator emphasized the difficulties of protecting the safety of students while walking large distances to and from senior high schools for practical sessions.
Vivian, an intern who began teaching a Junior Secondary School class in Bondo Subcounty in August 2023, discussed her experience of teaching many topics and frequently went without lunch owing to the difficult working environment.
Robert Ouko, the chairman of KUPPET in Siaya County, urged all members to seek assistance from the organization if they were experiencing challenges, adding that KUPPET is a source of empowerment and support for educators.