Agony of a 44-year-old trained teacher living with blindness as he awaits employment

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 2 Nov, 2021 20:48 | 3 mins read
Denis Otieno,44, a trained teacher seeking employment. PHOTO/VIOLA KASOME

When he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Education in April this year, he was optimistic that the star would begin to shine after several years in the gloom.

After all, he had invested heavily in education after losing his eye-sight about two decades ago and was determined not to let his condition deter him from educating others.

But for Denis Otieno, all his efforts could be in futility after his degree was rejected by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) who has instead advised him to take a course in Early Childhood Education(ECD).

Although he scored a C-(minus) in his secondary education, he claims that he has tried to scale the heights and completed a diploma in Special Education at Maseno University in 2015.

He claims that when he approached TSC with the certificate, he was turned away and was advised to take an undergraduate course because he did not meet the minimum requirements.

Speaking to K24-Digital, the father of three says he is still in distraught after TCS allegedly turned him away by TSC for a second time.

He claims he was told he does not meet the minimum requirements despite his degree which he now holds after several years of turmoil.

“It is not easy for me. I went back to do undergraduate studies but still, I have been told that I do not meet the minimum requirements,” he said.

He narrated his painful education journey after he became blind and claimed that his hopes had been that he could be offered employment with TSC.

“I lost my eyesight 23 years ago when I was working for a company in Mombasa,” he said.

According to Otieno, a total orphan, he joined the company after he dropped out of school in class seven to fend for his elderly grandmother and siblings.

After losing eyesight, however, a church took him and took care of him and encouraged him to take braille classes.

Over the years, the man who is keen to become part of the teaching fraternity undertook braille lessons and even sat for his national examinations at the Kibos school for the blind before opting to pursue a teaching course at Maseno.

He then decided to go back to school and enrolled at Kenya Institute for the blind where he learned brail.

Due to his desire to become a teacher, Otieno at the age of 31 decided to go back to class 7 in 2008 in order to achieve his dream and was admitted at Kibos Primary School for the blind.

In 2009, he did his KCPE and gained 275 marks out of 500 and was admitted at Thika High School for the blind where he sat for his KCSE and managed to get grade C- and was invited to join Maseno University to do a Diploma in special education.

With difficulties of acquiring school fees, Otieno said he moved from office to office to beg for school fees and his fees was paid and managed to graduate in 2015 with credit.

"After graduating, I went to TSC offices in 2016 to request them to employ me but unfortunately they told me they could not do so because I had C- and they advised me to go back to school and do undergraduate,” he claims.

On 30th April this year, Otieno graduated with second class upper division with hopes that the move would be open gates for him. This however remains a mirage as he continues with his lengthy wait.

In July after his certificate was out, he went back to the TSC office where he was told to go back four years ago and shockingly he was turned down again and advised to instead pursue ECD.

The 44-year-old father of three says he is afraid since he is catching up with age as TSC does not employ people above 45 years.

He says he finds it hard to fend for his family and pay school fees for his children since he is blind and he is also jobless.

"I hope TSC will consider my issue. I am not a failure and I believe that if I am given a chance, I will do my work with all my heart, “he said.

Attempts to reach TSC to comment on the matter was however futile.

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