TSC Flags Alcoholism as a Serious Medical Issue affecting teachers
Alcohol abuse causes social, economic, psychological, and physical problems for the individual, family, and community.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) says that some teachers have succumbed to alcoholism, which has resulted in, among other things, absence from work.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has issued guidelines to combat chronic alcoholism and read the riot act to tutors who enjoy their libation.
It has outlined steps to address the issue, including the placement of affected teachers in rehabilitation centers.
Absenteeism has been blamed on alcoholism, particularly among male teachers, with many losing their jobs over the years.
While the commission has not provided data on those affected, the fact that the vice has been flagged indicates the scope of the problem.
The commission has urged institution heads, other teachers, and spouses to assist in providing psychosocial support to those affected.
“TSC treats alcoholism among teachers as a chronic health problem that needs intervention by counsellors, colleagues and close family members and we have put systems in place to help the victims.” Said the commission.
The commission says that when a teacher’s immediate supervisor notices that he or she has an alcohol or drug problem, he or she should refer the teacher to the Sub County or County Director, who should then refer the patient to the Wellness section at TSC headquarters.
Before referring the victim to rehabilitation or psychiatric facility, the Wellness officer will ask the teacher to bring a next of kin to assist in the assessment of the case.
“If a teacher is admitted to any of the centres, s/he should write a letter to apply for sick leave to enable him/her to go through the 90-day programme.” Said the commission.
This letter, accompanied by an admission letter from the facility should be taken to TSC (Wellness) to allow TSC to write to the respective County Directors asking them to grant the sick leave.
Often, a teacher is discharged after 90 days, after which, s/he should report to the TSC Wellness section with a discharge summary and a certificate from the facility for a recommendation to be posted to a school.
“Whether you are a head of institution, a colleague or a spouse of a teacher with a drinking problem, you can play a critical role in offering psychosocial support by doing the following:
Head of Institution
- Offer advice to the teacher at a personal level. Have an external addiction counsellor talk with the teacher.
- Involve the teacher’s spouse or a trusted relative to persuade him/her to moderate the habit.
- Take the necessary administrative action to facilitate admission to a rehabilitation facility.
- Do not condemn or profile victims.
- Do not abet their behaviour by covering them up when absent, attending their lessons, or giving them money for drinks.
- Introduce them to recovering addicts groups such as the Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) fellowship.
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- Show the alcoholic love and try to understand him/her.
- Try to find out if there are underlying issues beneath the addiction and assist them where you can.
- Don’t give up on an alcoholic but ensure that s/he gets a meal and a change of clothes daily.
- Denying them such privileges worsens the situation and they become unkempt and malnourished, making them vulnerable to other medical conditions.
- Communicate with the head of institution, Sub County Director or County Director for a joint rescue strategy. Persuade and assist them to go for rehabilitation.
Deregistration is expensive because it prevents the affected teachers from teaching in public or private schools.
Mr Collins Oyuu, secretary-general of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), claims that cases of alcoholism have decreased.
Teachers are frequently defended by union representatives in schools before they are interdicted by TSC.
“Alcoholism is now controlled. There was a time it was a serious issue. Some teachers were notorious to the level of making noise at market centres. They are now polished,” he said.
He stated that the reported incidents are isolated and urged teachers to drink responsibly. Some teachers acknowledged an increase in alcoholism and blamed it on job-related stress and other socioeconomic factors.
Many are heavily in debt, and some have been listed on credit bureaus. TSC’s strict policies and stringent rules for career advancement only add to the sense of hopelessness and depression.
TSC has charged school principals with assisting teachers who have drug or alcohol problems.
It also cautioned other teachers against condemning and profiling their colleagues, as well as covering for them when they were absent by attending their classes.
But it’s not only teachers battling with alcoholic problems. National government administration officers are said to be facing the same challenges.
However, Officers in national government administration who are discovered to be alcoholics may soon lose their jobs.
This comes after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i directed that all such officials be fired, despite the fact that he indicated that they could still benefit from rehabilitation on the state’s dime.
Dr Matiang’i stated that public drunkenness by administration officers had become a source of embarrassment for the service and had to be stopped.
To that end, County Commissioners will be tasked with identifying juniors, including chiefs, who have serious drinking problems and submitting a report to the ministry for action, he said.
The RRI will be a nationwide intergovernmental activity based on the results of a national survey conducted in 2017 by the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (Nacada).
According to a survey, alcohol abuse is prevalent in all regions, with Nairobi County leading the way at 42.3%, followed by the Western region at 39.3% and the Rift Valley at 33.1%.