Nancy Macharia

Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia. The commission has advertised over 9,000 teaching jobs.

| Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

TSC faces backlash over tutors back-to-school bid

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has come under criticism over the planned rollout of compulsory refresher courses for tutors.

A case has been filed at the High Court while a petition is before the National Assembly, both seeking to stop the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) programme.

MPs yesterday questioned the criteria used by the commission to develop the programme.

They also demanded to know the method the teachers’ employer used to identify and select the four universities that will offer the training.

The lawmakers were reacting to a petition presented by the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet).

The petition, read by Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba who is also the Kuppet chairman, wants Parliament to direct the commission to call a stakeholder engagement forum before implementing the programme.

The union also wants the TSC to be compelled to meet the costs of the refresher courses.

The petitioners accuse the commission of starting the programme without consulting teachers and committing to them the burden of paying Sh6,000 for training every year.

To complete the six modules, each taking five years, a teacher will be required to fork out Sh180,000 in total.

“The TSC has not made public the consideration it based on in arriving at the exorbitant cost per module,” the petition reads.

Mr Milemba said teachers are underpaid and that some have stagnated in one job group for up to 20 years.

The petitioners say the commission selected the four universities in unclear circumstances despite there being other reputable institutions of higher learning countrywide.

“If the TSC is not restrained from implementing the TPD, the rights of teachers and stakeholders... stand the risk of being prejudiced,” reads the petition.

Nyando MP, Jared Odoyo, said workers in other organisations usually take refresher courses but at the expense of the employer.

“Teachers don’t make much money and to dispense Sh6,000 per module in this programme is mistreatment. I therefore ask you to apply brakes until necessary remedies are put in place for teachers to undertake this programme,” Mr Odoyo said.

National Assembly Minority Leader, John Mbadi, said it does not make sense to subject teachers to paying for the refresher courses.

He also questioned the method by which the four institutions were selected.

Like the other lawmakers, Gilgil’s Martha Wangari called for stakeholder engagement.

ODM Nominated MP and immediate former Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General, Wilson Sossion, said a court declared that TSC has no authority to formulate laws.

Mr Sossion added that the programme was developed without consultations.

“This House must put its foot down and stop TSC from implementing this plan,” he said.

Meanwhile, education consultant Joseph Ngethe Karanja moved to the High Court in Nakuru on Monday, seeking to have the programme stopped.

Mr Karanja listed the TSC, the Education Cabinet Secretary, the Attorney General, Kuppet, Knut, Kenyatta University, Mt Kenya University, Riara University and Kenya Education Management Institute as respondents.

“Your petitioner prays that the first respondent’s directive requiring compulsory TPD is illegal and unconstitutional, an affront on fair labour practices and therefore null and void,” the case file reads.

Mr Karanja says in the 2021-25 collective bargaining agreement signed on July 13, the TSC and the unions acknowledged the obligations of their members to undertake professional development prescribed by the commission in compliance with the code of regulations for teachers.

“That teachers are now required to undertake in-service professional training lasting five years upon which their certificates shall be renewed,” reads the petition.

He argues that to subject a teacher to 30 years of training in order to complete the six modules is against their rights.

He says teachers – the primary target of the scheme – and other education stakeholders were not engaged in the development of the content and the modules.

“The programme transfers the cost to the teacher rather than the employer. This is besides other associated costs involved in the implementation, including travel and subsistence,” he says.

Mr Karanja says the commission selected the four universities to offer the courses without following the right procedure.

“Teachers are entitled to reasonable working conditions. The compulsory development programme is unreasonable and aims at depriving them this sacrosanct right,” he the court papers read.

Mr Karanja says teachers are required to have gone through training before they are registered by the TSC.

As such, the professional development ought to have been aligned with the training and not be used arbitrarily for promotion.

Mr Karanja also wants the deal signed between the teachers’ unions and TSC in July to be quashed.

Already, the selected universities have advertised vacancies for the courses despite opposition to the programme.

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