Performance contracts meant to tame public schools' rot, says Nzomo

Tuesday February 23 2016

Teachers Service Commission chairman Lydia Nzomo addresses reporters at a past function.

Teachers Service Commission chairman Lydia Nzomo addresses reporters at a past function. Dr Nzomo said at a stakeholders' meeting at Shanzu Teachers Training College in Mombasa County on February 22, 2016 that all teachers must comply with the directive to sign performance contracts. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Appraising teachers through performance contracts is meant to stop the continuing decline of public school education in the country, the head of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said Monday.

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting at the Shanzu Teachers Training College in Mombasa County, TSC chairman Lydia Nzomo said all teachers must comply with the directive.

Dr Nzomo decried the poor performance of public primary schools, saying that only four per cent of KCPE students who scored more than 400 marks in last year’s exam came from public schools.

Already, the teachers' employer has confirmed that more than 2,000 headteachers from Nairobi, Laikipia, Nyamira and Murang’a counties have signed the performance contracts.


She said performance contracts are the "bare minimum" the commission can use to measure teachers' performance, improve the quality of teaching and countercheck how education funds are used.

"Of the Sh342 billion allocated to education last year, [the] TSC alone got Sh18 billion and estimates state that the funds might rise by Sh6 billion in the financial year 2016/2017 and we need to justify our expenditure on education," said Dr Nzomo.

Contrary to suggestions that the TSC did not consult relevant stakeholders before adopting performance contracts, the TSC head said the commission worked within the law and that the contracts are within the TSC Act and code of regulations that teachers agree with. 

"Everybody was consulted and this instrument was piloted in schools in eight counties way back in 2013 when we talked with teachers’ unions, looked at the instruments, while in 2014 and 2015 it had been in schools in the form of pilots," she said.


However, officials of teachers’ unions rejected the claims, saying they were not involved in designing the appraisals, which they maintain will not assess tutors fairly.

Mombasa Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) executive secretary Linet Khamadi said the contracts have many pages and sections that would bring many inconveniences during assessment and in teaching and would thus affecting quality.

"These contracts are tedious, with so many pages; those headteachers you are talking about are teachers, and heads of department who perform administrative duties. If they are supposed to spend a whole day looking at teachers, when will they teach, when will they attend to parents and look at other things that are going on in school?" posed Ms Khamadi.

The Kuppet official said the appraisals are being implemented at the wrong time when teachers have been on strike and the commission has not held new talks with them concerning their collective bargaining agreement.

Dr Nzomo said similar stakeholders' meetings are being held in other counties, and that all 47 devolved units will be covered by the week’s end.