North Eastern teachers

A group of teachers from the North Eastern gather at the Teachers Service Commission headquarters in Nairobi to demand their transfer from the region due to insecurity.

| Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

TSC declines to transfer non-local teachers from North Eastern

What you need to know:

  • For two weeks, the teachers have been camping at the TSC headquarters seeking transfers from Mandera, Wajir and Garissa.
  • Some 26,907 teachers across the country are waiting for transfers back to their home counties

Non-local teachers seeking transfers out of the North Eastern Region due to insecurity have suffered a major blow after the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) declined their requests.

Through regret letters to some of the teachers, TSC said they cannot be transferred due to lack of suitable replacements.

Some of the teachers who received the regret letters said they have been directed to report to their workstations by September 7 or face disciplinary action.

Non-local teachers leave Wajir border schools

For two weeks, the teachers have been camping at the TSC headquarters seeking transfers from Mandera, Wajir and Garissa.

“Your request for transfer out of North Eastern region is acknowledged by TSC. However, due to lack of a suitable replacement your request is hereby declined. You are therefore directed to report to your work station by Thursday the 7th September, 2023 failure to which disciplinary action shall be preferred against you,” TSC wrote in the letters.

“Some 100 teachers from primary and secondary schools have received regret letters from TSC. We will be camping at TSC headquarters to demonstrate because of insecurity. I was recruited and deployed in Mandera County in 2021 and things were okay, but the situation changed this year when the borders were opened,” said a secondary school teacher.

This comes as some 26,907 teachers across the country are waiting for transfers back to their home counties after the government abolished the delocalisation policy in June 2021. The policy entailed transferring of teachers from their native counties.

By June, some 46,962 primary and secondary school teachers had requested to be transferred back to their home counties, however, only 20,055 have been successful. In primary schools, TSC has received 35,959 applications for transfer but only 17, 942 teachers have been moved. In post-primary 10, 967 have sought transfers but only 2, 113 have been moved.

TSC explained that lack of suitable replacements was hindering transfers.

Recently, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu told senators that TSC will ensure that the station a teacher is leaving has a suitable replacement and the station where the teacher has requested to be transferred to has a vacancy.

“This way, the commission can ensure equitable distribution and optimal utilisation of teachers across the country for the benefit of all learners,” he said following a request from Nandi Senator Samson Cherargey for a status update on the delocalisation policy.

Wajir education crisis: Non-local teachers narrate harrowing experiences from Wajir

Mr Machogu said TSC had put in place the delocalisation policy to promote national cohesion and integration, deter conflict of interest in the administration of public schools, improve learning outcomes and address teacher shortages in some parts of the country. But in July 2021, during collective bargaining agreements negotiations with teacher unions, TSC agreed to end the policy.

Availability of vacancies in the proposed station, the need for replacement, existing staffing norms, medical grounds as certified by a registered medical practitioner are some of the grounds that TSC considers as it reverses the delocalisation policy.

Once a teacher applies for a transfer to a county of his or her choice, it is the responsibility of TSC to ensure there are vacancies, suitable replacements and staff balancing before the transfer is approved.

“This is intended to deter mass evacuation of teachers from one station to another, which has the potential effect of halting learning in an institution to the detriment of the learners,” explained the CS.

Mr Machogu said the commission gradually considers requests for transfer in a systematic manner so as not to disrupt learning.