The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) CEO Dr Nancy Macharia has defended the April, May mass delocalization of school heads saying it is anchored in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has been quarrelling TSC over the menacing mass transfers and delocalization of school heads. There is a developing panic in over 30,000 heads of public institutions over emerging details that a fresh shake-up by the commission is underway.
The teachers’ employer has ordered its regional officers to collect and transmit data of school heads who have been stationed in one institution for more than 9 years.
According to a February memo sent to all Regional directors, TSC wants to be equipped with details of primary and secondary school heads who have exited the teaching service.
TSC is also requesting data of school heads who are currently working from home due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, signalling major changes in public schools’ management.
Dr Macharia had urged teachers who are above 50 years of age and those with underlying conditions to work from home to curb the spreading virus.
The February 26th memo’s deadline ended last week. It advised that principals aged above 55 years and below be considered for transfers. It states that afresh appointed principals under Grade D3 principals will fill the vacancies.
Grade D3 category includes heads of County Schools. There is an estimated 1,031 county schools with approximately 145,000 learners in Kenya. Grade D2 comprises Principals of sub-county schools. There are nearly 7,000 sub-county schools with roughly 650,000 students.
Grade D4 includes Principals of extra county schools. There are around 531 sub-county schools with almost 130, 000 students.
The circular signed by Deputy Director Staffing, Dorothy Jonyo, gives a format for data presentation before they are forwarded to the Commission. Under the high schools’ model, regional directors are asked to capture the principles’ home county details and that of their current station, the size of the institution, the sponsor of the school, and the category of the school and enrolment data.
The commission also wants to be informed of the mean score registered by the schools in the last 3 years between 2017 and 2019 as well as the school’s host county. The principal’s gender, designation, and job group must also be captured.
For primary learning institutions, TSC wants to get data on the headteachers’ age, current station, home county, the designation and host county of the school.
KNUT yesterday vowed to oppose the program which Secretary-General Sossion says will be rolled out next month, April. Delocalisation policy was sneaked in the Building Bridges Initiative (BB1) report according to Sossion.
“The policy was not proposed by Kenyans but was unjustly sneaked into the report to drive TSC’s agenda of delocalisation of teachers.
“IfTSC executes massive delocalisation of teachers in April, then it shall be met with collective industrial action to safeguard our families and the teaching profession.” Said Sossion through a letter to the 881 secretariat
The BBI report recommended that the Education Ministry adopts policy guidelines that discourage local recruitment and staffing of teachers, depending on the conditions.
“To strengthen social ties and promote unity among all the communities, stakeholders recommended that the Ministry of Education reviews the curricula to introduce and integrate the teaching of national unity, character, and cohesion to learners during their formative or early years,” the report says.
Despite delocalisation and transfers opposition bt the unions, TSC has always maintained that the transfers are in line with the provisions of the teachers’ code of regulations and the CBA signed by the same unions.
“The Commission finds it an act of dishonesty and deceit on the part of the unions’ leadership to continue making public pronouncements calculated at misleading the same teachers the leaders are supposed to guide,” said TSC CEO Dr Nancy.
The mass transfers and the delocalisation of teachers have been brought a strong fight between TSC and Knut, a fight that nearly collapsed the former giant union, KNUT.
Back in 2018, his excellency President Kenyatta charged the Ministry of Education to review the TSC policy on mass transfers.
“I am aware that delocalisation has created some unforeseen challenges that have affected some teachers,” he said.
The BBI taskforce report also discourages the local recruitment and staffing of teachers.
“On teacher recruitment, the Ministry (of Education) should adopt policy guidelines that discourage local recruitment and staffing of teachers, depending on the circumstances,” the report advocates.
TSC has always defended itself on the delocalisation policy, which it says it’s aimed at promoting national cohesion and it is not a new phenomenon.
When Nancy Macharia appeared before the Senate Committee on Education in 2020, she said that delocalization of teachers is not meant to punish teachers but to promote national cohesion.
She admitted that the transfers had some imperfections at the start, but the agency has since corrected them.
“Delocalisation is simply a transfer; we want to ensure that teachers do not teach in their locality for their entire teaching life but are exposed to other cultures,” said Dr Macharia.
She stated that TSC has since ceased transferring teachers to far-flung regions from their counties. For primary school tutors, she stated, teachers are transferred from one sub-county to another within the same county or nearby counties.
“Secondary school teachers who are transferred to other counties are those who have been promoted to senior positions which they applied for,” she said.
Teachers delocalisation programme, career development programme and teachers appraisals are just a few policies that have kindled a poor relationship between TSC and KNUT.
Knut was objected to how delocalisation was handled in recent years stating that it was meant to punish teachers. The BBI taskforce report shows that ethnic hostility and competition are a major menace to Kenya’s success and the very continuity of the state.
To establish social ties and strengthen unity among all the communities, stakeholders suggested that the Education Ministry, through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), reexamines the curricula to include and integrate the teaching of national unity, character, and cohesion to students during their formative or early years.
It also suggests the review of policies in the education system that better social integration, particularly as regards admission to learning institutions.