The Teachers Service Commission yesterday ignored protests from teachers’ unions and announced the transfer of 3,094 head teachers countrywide in one of its biggest human resource movements in recent years.
Those affected by the transfers are head teachers of primary and secondary schools who have stayed in one station for more than nine years. They have until December 28 to hand over.
TSC announced the transfers just a day after the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) wrote a protest letter to the commission, asking it to stop transfers of the head teachers.
The transfers come a year after 1,065 principals were shuffled in a controversial delocalisation programme by the commission, leading to protests from education stakeholders who attracted the attention of President Kenyatta.
The Head of State asked for a review of the policy to ensure it does not break up families.
He said he had been informed that some families had been affected by the inter-county transfer of school administrators.
Mr Kenyatta directed the TSC and Knut to hold talks over the matter.
The two scheduled a meeting in Naivasha, but the talks collapsed due to extreme differences of opinion between the teachers’ employer and the trade unions representing the tutors.
On Tuesday, the commission did not give the names of headteachers who will be affected by its new directive.
Neither did it publish the affected schools.
Ms Nancy Macharia, the chief executive officer at the commission, said the transfers are a result of the retirement of head teachers and principals who attained the mandatory retirement age in the last three months.
“As a result, deputy heads who are qualified and have exemplary performance records have been promoted to headship positions and transferred accordingly. Inevitably, some of the serving heads have also been transferred to take the positions that fell vacant. This is necessary in order to match performance and experience to the enrolment and level of the institutions,” Ms Macharia said.
The changes, she said, had also been necessitated by the need to strengthen management of some of the learning institutions following recommendations from standards and assessment reports.
“In line with the policy on appointment of institutional administrators, some principals and head teachers who have served for a long period in the same institution have been transferred. It is intended that the transfer will provide them with a new working environment and also tap into their vast experience,” she said.
Some heads of institutions had applied for transfer to new stations, she said, adding that “such applications are normally considered at the end of the year to avoid unnecessary disruptions in curriculum delivery, and after necessary replacements have been made”.
In making the transfers, Ms Macharia said the commission had considered a number of factors, including number of years pending retirement and exceptional circumstances such as health, where appropriate documentation was available.
“Accordingly, TSC county directors should ensure that handing or taking over will have been concluded by December 28 and a status report submitted to the staffing director by December 31. Any issues by individual heads arising from the transfer will be handled by the receiving county directors, who have been advised accordingly,” Ms Macharia said.
In a letter to the commission dated December 17, Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion asked Ms Macharia to immediately comply with the President’s directive to stop the transfer policy, which he said was disrupting families and adding no value to teaching.
“The President's directive ought to be respected and complied with,” Mr Sossion said.
But Ms Macharia said TSC had conducted the transfers pursuant to Article 237(2) of the Constitution, the TSC Act of 2012, and the Code of Regulations for Teachers (2015), which mandate it to assign teachers for service in any public school or institution.
“This is primarily intended to achieve equity in teacher distribution for improved learning outcomes in public schools,” she said.