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Fits of anger on teachers as TSC moves to give interns priority in hiring 

Fits of anger, protests over alleged favouritism have rocked the Teachers Service Commission’s (TSC) recruitment of permanent employees.

The teachers’ employer decided to give interns an advantage in the ongoing recruitment of permanent employees. There has been a lot of frivolous and tenuous complaints about such a move.

Teachers wishing to join the commission on permanent terms state that by awarding 30 marks to interns ahead of the recruitment exercise, TSC is probably seeking to employ teachers who have never had an opportunity to work as apprentices but yet possess fitting credentials.

“Internship is meant to make someone gain experience. Is it to say that only public schools can give that experience? Why is a teacher disadvantaged for working in a private institution serving public students?” a teacher from Nairobi County posed.

To justify transparency, fairness and justice, all recruitment candidates should be subjected to a non-discriminatory interview process that provides prime credit to the academic credentials that provide one appropriateness to teach.

Yet this circumstance fails to realise the importance of experience, no matter how short, in filling staffing shortages in the country at a crucial time when schools are striving to regain lost time following the pandemic interruption on the education system.

“TSC has been unfair to jobless teachers. Experience and skills count for nothing. It’s ridiculous that when we’re called for interviews, we’ll only be fighting for five marks,” a teacher from Nakuru County said.

Before the pandemic, the education sector was then grappling with a shortage of more than 100,000 teachers running into more than 100,000, leaving learners behind even in basic skills such as math, reading and writing.

It was for this reason that TSC introduced a policy of hiring interns in 2019, to prevent the teacher-shortage crisis from worsening to overwhelming levels.

Despite a meagre salary of Sh15,000 for primary interns and Sh20,000 for those in secondary, schools were filled with young, fully trained education graduates or diploma holders with the ability to dispense important services to learners.

This was fair than neglecting them as they wait for the government to allot funds for the recruitment of permanent and pensionable teachers.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) led by the former Secretary-General Wilson Sossion rushed to court to stop it, demonstrating that it violated employment laws.

Knut later withdrew the case following an agreement with the TSC that the interns would be gradually incorporated into the commission on permanent terms or given an advantage during recruitment.

The exiguous salary or allowance as TSC calls it, discouraged thousands of fully trained graduate teachers from applying for internships considering that some were already earning better as BOM or private school teachers.

Teachers who rejected the offer must feel hard done by watching those who preferred the pain of working for a pittance accorded priority in the recruitment exercise for permanent employment.

By giving the interns a 30 marks head-start in the ongoing recruitment exercise, some will claim that TSC is prudent while some believe it’s just unfair.

With the new development, many unemployed teachers are likely to turn up for the next recruitment of interns, expected in a few months. Sh1.2 billion has been allocated for the purpose in the current budget.

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