Teachers’ association resists proposal to strip off TSC powers
Teachers’ association resists proposal to strip off TSC powers. The Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER) proposed giving the Ministry of Education part of the authority currently held by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), but the Kenya Teachers in Hardship and Arid Areas Welfare Association (KETHAWA) rejected the idea.
Speaking to Education News, the association’s National Secretary Wangonya Wangenye said that since TSC is an independent Commission under the Constitution, anything pertaining to a teacher should be handled by TSC, and any amendments regarding the same should be made in accordance with the proper procedure outlined in the Constitution.
The working group has suggested that TSC should only be given the authority to hire, promote, and deploy teachers, similar to how the Public Service Commission (PSC) functions. The working party is scheduled to complete its final report prior to the deadline of June 9, 2023.
On the other hand, it is suggested that the Ministry of Education take over the management of teachers and that Article 237 (1) of the Constitution be modified to take the recommendations into account.
Wangenye noted that since the Ministry only cares about what occurs in schools, it is now aiming to take control of teacher management powers, a situation that will render irrelevant all the advancements TSC has seen since its founding in 1967. Wangenye added that as teachers, they will not accept any move that takes away the Commission’s powers.
“We passionately and categorically oppose any action taken in response to PWPER’s demands to limit TSC’s authority. The Commission was established 56 years ago as a result of the hardship instructors had to endure because of disjointed hiring organizations that damaged the quality, standards, and uniformity of the terms and conditions of the teaching services.
The taskforce, according to Wangenye, needs to refresh its memory and be aware of the fact that teachers rejected the 2005 constitutional referendum because it called for the elimination of the TSC.
He continued by saying that in 2010, following the commission’s independence under Article 237 of the Kenyan Constitution, the teachers supported the referendum.
“By returning some of the commission’s responsibilities to the Ministry of Education, we cannot undo the progress the commission has done over the past 50 years. The ministry’s tray is already full. The financial impact of student capitation has not yet been felt by schools, and school infrastructure is currently in appalling shape. How therefore can we entrust them with extra responsibilities and tasks of resolving teachers’ difficulties if they have been unable to resolve the basic mandate granted to them by law? Wangenye said, “Let the ministry stay out of teachers’ affairs.
Wangenye claims that the committee’s mandate was to compare the 8-4-4 curriculum to the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), and that the taskforce was not supposed to discuss TSC operations at any point.
They are going beyond their authority. Without interfering with teachers, they should complete their assignment. Teachers already have representation and channels via which they can voice their complaints, therefore they don’t need a task force to do so, according to Wangenye.
When the then-TSC Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gabriel Lengoiboni, revoked the MoE contacts that allowed the then-Provincial Directors of Education (PDEs) and District Education Officers (DEOs), who were then under the ministry, to manage teachers, the rivalry between the two organizations got underway.
According to the TSC Act (Cap 212) and Legal Notice No. 95 of 171, all PDEs and DEOs have their authority to oversee teachers’ affairs taken away by TSC in a dramatic step to solidify its position as a constitutional commission.
The previous system was then effectively replaced by County Directors of Education (CDE) structures, which rendered the once-powerful ministry employees redundant.
The late Prof. George Magoha, who served as the National Assembly’s Committee on Education’s witness in 2020, urged lawmakers to reconsider the current law because it does not let his office to oversee teachers.
After it became clear that his office lacked the authority to hold institution heads accountable for financial irregularities, Prof. Magoha informed MPs that he is in charge of the only ministry without control over teachers.
Currently, TSC has the authority to assign instructors for service in any public school or institution, promote and transfer teachers, reprimand teachers, and terminate their employment in addition to employing them. It has broad authority as a result of these regulations, all of which are guaranteed by the Constitution.