Talks between teachers and their employer hit a stalemate Wednesday after the Teachers Service Commission rejected a demand to revoke the transfers of 85 head teachers holding union positions.
The head teachers, who are members of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), were transferred outside their counties this year.
TSC also rejected a demand to have such head teachers exempted from future transfers, a move that saw deliberations on the issue pushed to another date.
This means that Knut will have to seek another meeting with TSC in order to discuss the issue of transfers but other matters will still be discussed in the remaining two days. The demands were made by Knut during the five-day talks on various issues affecting teachers which started on Monday in Naivasha and which end tomorrow.
TSC will Thursday hold make-or-break talks on promotion of more than 30,000 teachers who have attained higher academic qualifications after the parties failed to agree yesterday.
This is after it emerged that data from TSC indicates that only 400 teachers qualify for promotion while the rest have questionable academic qualifications.
Knut wants the teachers promoted based on academic qualifications but TSC insists this must be based on performance and availability of vacancies.
TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia said in a statement that both parties had made significant progress and had reached a consensus on several issues.
“The commission took time to explain to the union the legal and policy framework governing the transfers of the 312,007 teachers in its employment. Even after explaining the policy and legal framework, which the union had approved through the signing of the CBA, the Knut officials were adamant and demanded an adjournment of the deliberations to a future date,” said Mrs Macharia.
Mrs Macharia Wednesday maintained that the mandate of the commission is to assign teachers to any public school or institution.
“Employees who hold elective offices in unions and saccos, among others, are primarily employed to teach and are bound by the code of regulations for teachers, which has provisions on transfers of teachers. Election to any office cannot, therefore, be used to irregularly amend the contract between an employee and employer,” added Mrs Macharia.
She said TSC had agreed to release 111 Knut executive secretaries to work full time for the union.
“This is not even a legal requirement on the part of TSC but an act of magnanimity to promote cordial relations. The union’s demand to exempt some elected officials from operational policies and regulations can only undermine provision of quality teachers and, by extension, quality education. This is not tenable," Mrs Macharia said.
Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion Wednesday declined to discuss the issues.
“I have nothing tangible to report,” he said when asked about the latest development.