Why is TSC punishing innocent teachers in its fights with Knut?

Wednesday March 18 2020

1. Teachers have really suffered under the AON medical cover. What is the future of this cover? Julia Wanjiku, Kirinyaga County

A good number of teachers and their dependants have expressed satisfaction with the cover. However, we noted a few teething problems, which have been addressed progressively. The commission has advertised a new service provider. Teachers’ concerns were incorporated in developing the terms of reference for the new cover.

2. When TSC implemented the delocalisation policy, many felt it was unfair. How successful is the programme? Komen Moris, Eldoret

Transfer of teachers outside their counties is a regulatory mandate under the Code of Regulations for Teachers. When the transfers were reintroduced in 2016, there were teething challenges. Going forward, when effecting these transfers, the commission ensures they are done in a humane way by considering factors such as a teacher’s age, medical condition, disability status and proximity to home county. I wish to assure teachers that the transfers have stabilised and teachers have started to embrace the policy.

3. Why is it that during your tenure as the CEO, most of the policies you have come up with are meant to subdue teachers instead of empowering them? Take for example the career progression guidelines that you passionately champion: It will be next to impossible for a teacher to move from one job group to another if they do not have a Master’s degree. Again, what will happen to the very many principals who do not have Master’s degrees? Isaac Mathara, Nakuru

During my tenure, one of the key gains realised is the signing of the CBA 2017-2021, which ring-fenced Sh54 billion over the four-year period. This has translated to better remuneration for our teachers. The current Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) expand the scope and positions available to teachers. The following gains have been raised through CPG: First, three common cadre grades that were not there before have been introduced. These are primary teacher II (B5) to primary teacher I (C1), diploma holders get in at secondary teacher III (C1) to secondary teacher II (C2), and degree holders get in at secondary teacher II (C2) to secondary teacher III (C3). Second, creation of several senior master positions that have several layers for upwards mobility. Third, creation of senior teachers for primary schools, which is a substantive administrative grade. Fourth, creation of deputy head teacher/deputy principal for upward mobility. The positions of deputies and principals are high ranking in the public service. Introduction of master’s is in line with international best practices and is intended to ensure effective administration of public learning institutions. If the market has no qualified persons, the commission will make an informed decision.


4. When will teachers who have attained higher qualifications and have stagnated at the same job group for more than 10 years be promoted? Mbogo Francis, Embu County

The commission uses several criteria to promote teachers. Among them is the availability of vacancies and performance as provided for in the Code of Regulations for Teachers. Attainment of higher qualifications is just but one of the criteria which gives teachers an added advantage during interviews.

5. The court ruled that promotion should be based on the old schemes of service. As far as I can recall, TSC did not appeal and therefore the ruling remains. Why then didn’t TSC promote all the teachers who have acquired higher qualifications? Amos Ruturi

The court’s ruling was that terms and conditions of service for teachers who are members of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) be based on the schemes of service.

The schemes of service do not provide for automatic promotion upon attainment of higher qualifications. Instead, promotions are subject to availability of vacancies, budgetary allocations and teachers’ performance.

6. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was signed between the commission and the unions seem to favour only teachers in administrative positions yet in real sense the teachers in lower cadres have a lot of responsibilities and workload in class. Is there possibility these gaps can be addressed in the next CBA? Nathan Muthamia, Chuka, Tharaka Nithi

The CBA is based on a job evaluation conducted jointly by TSC and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission in 2016. Administrative positions have been created from the level of senior master and one is able to progress gradually to the position of chief principal. Each position is remunerated based on the responsibility of the job. However, your concerns have been noted and will inform the negotiations of the next CBA.

7. Many education stakeholders were upbeat when TSC was made a constitutional commission. However, the feuding between your commission and trade unions, especially Knut, has reached unprecedented levels. How have these tussles affected the delivery of your constitutional mandate? Komen Moris, Eldoret

The upgrading of TSC to a constitutional commission empowers it to effectively manage all issues relating to teachers. However, the few squabbles may be attributable to a few unionists who have not appreciated the new constitutional order. The commission has done all that it can including the signing of the CBA, which was intended to conclusively provide for a grievance-handling procedure to resolve all disputes without affecting the learners.

To this end, the commission appreciates any teacher who continues to support its programmes and policies that ensure provision of quality education to Kenyan learners.

8. Before the coup at Knut, which has been halted by the courts, TSC was not willing to meet with sec-gen Wilson Sossion. But as soon the attempted coup was carried out, TSC called for a meeting with Knut, showing it was keen on seeing Mr Sossion out. What is TSC’s interest on who leads Knut? Tobias Bargoret, Eldoret

TSC is not interested in the leadership struggle of any union. TSC has had cordial industrial relations with Knut under the leadership of Mr Sossion, which led to signing of the CBA. It is not true that TSC is unwilling to meet Mr Sossion. In fact, since he was elected as Knut secretary-general in 2013, he has led many delegations to the TSC. This includes negotiations of the current CBA. As a public institution, TSC is open to all visitors including Mr Sossion.

9. The commission last year appointed eight regional directors to oversee and coordinate teachers’ issues in the former administrative provinces. What was the motivation behind this move yet you had already deployed county directors in line with the current devolved system of government? Daniel Murugu, Nakuru

The TSC Act Section 20 provides for the commission to decentralise the performance of any of its functions to county or any other level and delegate its powers and functions to appointed agents. A region is a recognised unit of administration, not only by TSC but also by the national government. Appointment of regional directors is part of the process of re-engineering the commission for effective service delivery.

10. Why do teachers who retire take more than a year to enjoy their retirement benefits while other workers start receiving their benefits immediately? Joseph Kaigua

Teachers’ pension is processed under the provisions of the Pensions Act Cap 189 of the laws of Kenya.

Two institutions manage the process, namely TSC and the Director of Pensions, who is based at the National Treasury. Teachers are given a notice one year before retirement date, requiring them to submit the necessary documents. However, not all teachers submit them on time.

11. What are you doing to improve the teacher-to-pupil ratio and to ensure that more classes are built in public schools especially in informal settlements such as Korogocho, Mathare and Kibra? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi

The commission employs and posts teachers according to the demands of institutions and availability of funds. The government has provided for recruitment of additional 5,000 teachers per year over the past three years to address the teacher-learner ratio.

12. I was employed as a secondary school contract teacher for three months on September 2016. Upon completion of the said contract, I was paid a one-month salary in January 2017. The balance hasn’t been paid to date despite visiting the TSC head office on numerous occasions. Nuru A. Suddy, Makueni County

The commission takes note of your concern. Please provide your TSC number and the name of the station where you worked through our email address: [email protected] to enable us address the issue.

13. Why is it that in secondary schools’ recruitment score sheet, age is not considered as they do in primary schools’ recruitment? There are some teachers who obtained their degrees at 40 and they might miss being employed considering the rate of absorption. Jacob Kiage, Mathare Nairobi

The commission develops recruitment guidelines from time to time. The current recruitment guidelines take care of age by considering the period that a candidate has stayed since graduation. Those who are naturally older are given higher scores than candidates who have graduated recently.

14. What is the fate of those principals in group N who were demoted in 2016? David. K. Njogu, Kieni

You did not give sufficient details on these principals and the circumstances under which they were demoted for me to answer this question.

16. I would like to know why teachers are forced to hand-write schemes of work in this era of technology? Duncan Thiong’o, Nyeri

It is strange to hear that a teacher has been forced to handwrite the schemes of work. Whether teachers type or write the schemes of work is their discretion.

17. As per KICD guidelines, a holder of diploma in ECDE is qualified to teach in the lower primary. Unfortunately, every time we submit our applications (during recruitments) we are turned away by TSC county directors who say that they have to get a directive from the CEO. Can you clarify this matter? Susan Kamonde, Muranga

The commission is mandated to register trained teachers to teach in ECDE institutions, primary and secondary schools and teacher training colleges.

In addition, TSC recruits and employs teachers to teach in public primary, secondary and teacher training colleges. The mandate of employment of ECDE teachers is now with the county government.

18. Why have the retired teachers of the year 1997 never been paid yet a court ruled in their favour? Jeff Chepkwony, Sigor, Chepalungu

TSC is in full compliance of the court ruling. Indeed, the Director of Pensions has been paying many of these retirees.

But after the initial processing of the claims of some of these teachers, an anomaly was discovered and a revision of the process by TSC became necessary. The last batch of revised claims should be leaving TSC in a few weeks’ time.