Education Consultant Petition Against TPD Programme By TSC. Riara University, KU, MKU, and KEMI Sued As Well.
The newly launched Teachers Professional Development Programme (TPD) has been dealt a major setback after an education consultant, Joseph Ngethe Karanja, filed a legal challenge to it.
Karanja filed a petition in court on Monday seeking an injunction to prevent the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) from implementing the program, citing a lack of public participation as required by Article 232 of the Constitution.
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The petitioner urged the court to declare the mandatory teachers' program null and void for violating supreme law provisions.
“A declaration that the 1st respondent’s (TSC) directives requiring compulsory Teachers Professional Development programme (TPD) module is illegal and unconstitutional, an affront to teachers fair labor practices and therefore null and void,” read the petition.
TSC launched the TPD programme on September 22nd, a new module that will see public school teachers renew their professional certificates every 5 years.
The petitioner claims that the TSC imposed the program by incorporating it into the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), but failed to engage in the required public participation.
At the same time, the petitioner has raised concerns about TSC's decision to base teacher promotions on mandatory professional courses and to impose additional educational requirements for their continued employment despite having completed the required educational requirements.
“Seeking to impose a compulsory teacher that shall run for 30 days yet numerous teachers are quite old and cannot compete in the aforesaid training while still in service thus excluding them from any further promotion,” the 13-paged petition read.
The petitioner has also filed a lawsuit against Kenyatta University, Riara University, Mount Kenya University, and the Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI), which were chosen by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to train teachers.
The Education Consultant raised concerns about the tendering process for awarding the four higher learning institutions to carry out the training program.
“Arbitrarily appointing the 4th to 8th respondents as the sole providers in teachers training under Teachers Professional Development Programme (TPD) and without engaging in open and transparent training programme as required by the law,” the court papers read.
The petitioner also opposes the proposal to have teachers pay for in-service training, arguing that the TSC should bear the cost.
TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia stated during the training program's launch that the TPD is a life-long learning program organized in six-tiered competency levels, with each level taking five years to complete.
This means that over the course of a 30-year teaching career, each teacher will be required to take a total of five modules, which will cost around Sh180,000.
A labor court halted the implementation of professional development training programs that would determine teacher promotion in 2019.
The court ruled that the TPD program was not valid for implementation because there was no regulation promulgated by TSC to guide the programs.
In addition, in 2016, the Commission implemented Performance Contracting for Institutional Heads and Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development (TPAD) for teachers, with the goal of strengthening curriculum implementation and accountability in resource utilization in order to improve learning outcomes.
Teacher unions had previously urged the employer to recall the performance appraisal tools, stating that the exercise had caused anxiety among teachers.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has already rejected the TPD module.
Nairobi County Branch executive secretary said there is a need for social dialogue in KUPPET to interrogate some areas of law policy and regulations that make a teacher's work environment hostile such as section 42 of the code of regulation for teachers.
The code talks about mandatory TPD but does not address payment. Other sections that need to be interrogated according to Mboara includes section 47, 237 and 3 which gives TSC the mandate to regulate teaching as a profession.
He said the Nairobi Kuppet Branch shall seek clear interpretation on how this shall be done but that and even consider presenting a petition to parliament to have section 47 of the TSC act repealed or amended.
"We can also have the code of regulations for teachers section 42 amended, we can also marshal the support of members of parliament to enable section 237 of the constitution to be amended if it doesn't require a referendum." Said Mbora during the interview.
He said teachers should have laws that protect them in their work environment.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi said that teachers dug their own graves when they replaced Wilson Sossion as the Secretary-General of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT).
"Teachers, you left Wilson Sossion to be fought to exhaustion by the State. KNUT withdrew all cases against the State when you replaced Sossion with a Secretary of ‘your preferred choice’. Said Havi.
He however promised to challenge the oppressive TPD Programme in court for the sake of his late father and my mother, both of whom were great teachers.
"After reflecting on what would have been good for my late father and my mother, both of whom were great teachers, I have changed my mind. I will act for teachers to challenge the oppressive Teacher Professional Development Programme imposed by the TSC. Let us get started."
TSC's launch of TPD modules last week sparked a debate, with the majority of teachers opposing the plan.
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