More than 20,000 teachers stand to be promoted if their employer adopts recommendations of a report by the National Assembly’s Education Committee to spend part of Sh20 billion on the exercise.
The committee, in its report, regretted that thousands of teachers are not getting promotions due to frequent and unwarranted litigations by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and teachers' unions.
“As a committee, we met and agreed that TSC, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) hold a meeting and resolve this dispute over promotion of teachers,” said the committee chairman Julius Melly (Tinderet).
TSC has been allocated Sh251 billion in the next financial year starting July 1, an increase from the 2018/2019 budget of Sh225 billion.
The committee observed that it was wrong to punish teachers who deserve promotions and that the promotions would determine their retirement package.
The TSC, in its 2019-2023 strategic plan, acknowledged that thousands of teachers had stagnated in their current positions for years due to lack of funds and limited opportunities for upward mobility.
The commission stated that limitations on budgetary provisions for the last five years had limited opportunities for teacher promotion, a situation it said had led to a demotivated teaching force and a high turnover in some teaching areas, creating general instability in the provision of teaching services.
Teachers unions have been pushing for the promotion of teachers who have acquired higher academic qualification since 2014.
Data from TSC indicates that a total of 54,702 teachers have upgraded their education and acquired new academic papers and are seeking promotions.
However, Knut secretary Wilson Sossion insisted that all the 54,000 teachers should be promoted saying they have stagnated in their current positions for far too long.
“Teachers who deserve promotions ought to be moved and it is not a favour we are asking for,” said Mr Sossion.
The commission has since indicated that it will be putting up advertisements for a competitive promotion of teachers.
According to TSC, during the 2015 to 2018 period, 11,177 teachers were promoted competitively through advertised posts.
“These were teachers promoted from Job groups K to R, in addition to 35,887 teachers upgraded through the common cadre provision. During the period under review, the Commission, in conjunction with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), conducted a job evaluation exercise for the teaching service that informed the implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) with teachers’ unions,” reads the strategic plan.
Subsequently, the commission reviewed the existing schemes of service and adopted career progression guidelines for the teaching service.
The commission and Knut are already in court over the promotion of teachers. TSC argues that the demand by Knut that teachers be promoted based on attainment of higher qualification as the only criteria is contrary to the code of regulations for teachers.
The TSC chief executive officer, Nancy Macharia, in a memorandum says promotion is guided by merit and ability as reflected in the teachers' work, performance and results, seniority and experience as set out in the scheme of service, existence of a vacancy, academic and professional qualification and any other criteria the commission may consider relevant.
She says attainment of higher qualification is not the only factor as alleged by Knut and insists that demand by the union for the promotion of teachers based on higher qualification alone is not tenable as the same is contrary to the requirements of the CBA signed by parties.
However, Knut in its memorandum, says it is not seeking promotion of teachers only based on higher qualifications only but promotions on the basis of what the law, regulations and the practice has as policies.
“The CORT has not been amended nor repealed and cannot be repealed or amended by a policy document. Its recognition and adoption of scheme of service is anchored and protected in law,” says Knut in a memorandum signed by Mr Sossion.