Kuppet petitions legislators on ‘stagnation’ of 50,000 teachers

Akello Misori

Kuppet secretary-general Akello Misori addresses journalists at the union’s offices in Nairobi on February 23, 2022. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has petitioned Parliament over the fate of 46,550 teachers who have not been promoted despite having the qualifications and schools having vacancies.

In a meeting yesterday with the Education Committee of the National Assembly, Kuppet Secretary-General Akello Misori presented research findings by the union showing thousands of tutors have stalled their careers and also lost on income estimated at over Sh2 billion.

According to the report that was presented during a consultative meeting on the Supplementary Estimates for 2022/2023, there are 124,105 teachers serving in post-primary institutions. Many of them have been serving in administrative positions in acting capacities but without matching pay.

The majority of those the union says have stagnated (24,082) having served more than five years are in job Grade C3. Mr Misori attributed this to what he termed over-concentration of administrators in middle grades. Secondary school teachers join the service at Grade C2 and are automatically promoted after serving for three years.

“Such teachers are owed ‘pending bills’, which the union estimates to be over Sh2 billion, based on budget estimates for the cost of promotions to administrative positions in the last collective bargaining agreement (CBA) cycle,” the report by Kuppet reads.

Senior masters

“Since each learning institution must have, on the minimum, five administrators (a principal, a deputy principal and three senior masters heading a department), the 11,000 secondary schools and teacher training colleges in Kenya must have a minimum of 57,257 administrators in these three positions.”

According to Kuppet, there are 32,000 teachers currently in administrative positions, leaving a huge deficit. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) promotes teachers based on the career progression guidelines (CPGs) introduced in 2016. The guidelines for promotion include relevant experience, satisfactory performance, minimum qualifications and the relevant professional development modules attained.

“Regrettably, the CPGs have not lived to their billing. After six years, thousands of teachers are still stuck in low promotional grades, unable to benefit from the promotions promised under the CPGs,” Mr Misori said.

Mr Misori asked Parliament to direct the TSC to establish a parallel career path for classroom teachers who are not in administrative positions. In the teaching service, the lowest rank is B5 (Teacher Scale 5), the entry grade for a primary school teacher while the highest grade is D5 (Teacher Scale 15), principal of the largest schools in Kenya and Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) including Kenya Institute of Special Education and the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa.

Administrative positions

“The TSC could borrow best practices from public universities where academic staff can rise to become full professors without necessarily serving in administrative positions,” he said. He called on TSC to confirm the teachers who are serving in acting capacities and limit the practice of internal appointments. The union further called for the promotion of 498 chief principals, 383 senior principals, 2,556 principals and 36,426 senior masters to existing vacancies.

In December last year, TSC cancelled an advert for 14,738 promotion vacancies amid protests by teachers. Then Kuppet chair Omboko Milemba backed the cancellation and asked TSC to increase the number of vacancies, saying, many deserving teachers would be left out.

TSC has blamed lack of funds allocation for the failure to promote teachers and employ more.

“The commission has not been granted additional budgetary allocations for the promotion of teachers for the past 10 years except in July 2017,” TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia said when she appeared before the committee in December.

She said promotion is based on vacancies arising from natural attrition.