It is World Teachers’ Day, a special day to appreciate, assess and have a conversation meant to improve educators in the world. It also provides the opportunity to address issues related to teachers and teaching. Every year, a theme is chosen by UNESCO to mark the day. This year’s World Teachers’ Day theme is: “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher.”
Reading that theme, one asks themselves what entails being a qualified teacher. It authors that that the right to education cannot be achieved without the right to trained and qualified teachers. But that question must extend to what it would take to retain qualified teachers for better learning outcomes of students, the future leadership, shapers and shakers of society.
As at February this year, there are 312,306 primary and secondary school teachers. But the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has argued that they are strained and is looking to reduce the teacher shortage of 104,821 in the country. Of these, 40,972 should be hired and posted to secondary schools and another 63,849 sent to primary institutions.
One step towards hiring and retaining quality teachers is the terms of service. Here, a medical cover reigns supreme. TSC engaged the services of Minet Africa where all teachers in active service are automatically eligible for cover.
The 2014 Basic Education Statistical Booklet revealed that there are serious cross-county disparities, ranging from a very high pupil-teacher ratio of 101:3 in Turkana to a low of 25:4 in Baringo. This has a negative impact on the quality of education and this rolls over to the students churned out to the community.
But where a medical cover is provided, the teacher is more comfortable teaching and going all the way in making the educational journey of learners worthwhile.
As a contribution to growing insurance penetration in the country and the efficiency of insurance brokers in delivering insurance services, Minet put itself on the line by bidding and winning the tender. They risked their brand not just for the lucrative tender totaling to Sh5.6 billion annually, but the risk of washing away all its credibility, because of the possible inefficiencies, both its own and of hospitals when dealing with such large numbers of one client.
The outpatient cover is unlimited to all job groups while inpatient, dental, optical, maternity, and group cover differ. Moreover the last expense is sh100, 000 for all the job groups. Last expenses are the final expenses incurred at the time of a person’s death. These include, funeral costs, court expenses associated with probating his or her will, current bills or debt, and taxes.
Teachers also enjoy psychiatric and counselling services for conditions such as chemical dependency, stress, post-traumatic counselling, relationship difficulties, anxiety and depression, parenting, legal or financial distress.
Chronic diseases covered include but not limited to: cancer, hypertension, asthma, diabetes, pepticulcer diseases, arthritis, cardiac failure, epilepsy, chronic renal disease, schizophrenia, bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, thyroid disease, systemic lupus erythematosus and hyperlipidaemia.
In addition, the cover includes Overseas Evacuation/Treatment Abroad in line with Ministry of Health regulations, where treatment abroad is for cases where the treatment required is not available locally and where the Director of Medical Services has approved.
There have always been and there will always be concerns raised, murmurs and threats, like currently over outpatient cover, but the opportunity to also show the best in you cannot be understated. The health sector in the country has been in tatters since devolution took place due to poor transition. But it has also been wobbling due to perennial poor investments and attention by successive governments.
Lack of adequate staff, long distances to facilities, fewer doctors and lack of adequate equipment are some of the challenges the health sector is facing. No wonder the President decided to make healthcare one of the Big 4 Agenda as this would give it a focus, to change the historical tide.
But as Minet decided to invest in an area with these kind of environment, the inefficiencies that would be alluded to them, some which could be inaccurate were bound to happen. In practice, the majority of teachers are satisfactorily being served in health centers scattered across the country.
If a study is ever done about the efficiency of insurance brokers in delivering insurance services, a medical cover option by Minet should be on top of the list for consideration.