teachers training colleges - Court blocks CS Amina's low TTC grades plan, orders talks

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The Labour Court has stopped Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed from lowering the entry grade for teachers' training colleges from C to D+ in a case filed by the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (Kuppet).

Ms Mohamed lowered the P1 entry grade from C to D+, and that for diploma colleges from C+ to C-, in the case of 17 marginalised counties

In the ruling on Thursday, Justice Byram Ongaya also certified the matter as urgent and directed that the case be mentioned on January 3

Mr Ongaya directed the CS to urgently convene a meeting of all stakeholders to harmonise the regulations of admission to the TTCs.

In November, Ms Mohamed suffered a major blow in her attempts to lower the entry grades as Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki told her she had no such powers.

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The AG said only the Teachers Service Commission is mandated to prescribe the entry qualifications. He fell short of revoking the recent admission of thousands of students with lower grades.

After the AG's assertion, the commission moved to actualise his advisory on setting the entry grade.

TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia, in a paid advert in local dailies, announced that those joining TTCs for two-year certificate courses must have had Cs in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.

The announcement was a major blow to close to 2,000 students who were in October admitted with D+s.

In her defence of the lower grades, the minister said they were based on the affirmative action law that is covered in the Constitution.

The CS noted that regional differences make it impossible to gauge all students the same way, hence the need for equity, which she said will not affect the quality of education.

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“Where we don’t have quality, we want to begin injecting some level of quality. In order to speak of quality, you must have a basis. Whenever somebody talks about quality of education, you need to look at the foundation that exists,” she said.

“Go around the country and tell me whether you think the foundation that exists allows us to have a single standard across the board. Had that been true, our Constitution would not have talked about affirmative action and our schools would not also be enrolling students with low grades on this basis."

The government's plan will affect 17 counties, including Turkana, Samburu, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Lamu, Tana River, West Pokot, Homa Bay, Narok, Baringo and Kajiado, some in full and some in part.

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