TSC boss quizzed on quorum hitch, stalled talks on pay rise

Nancy Macharia

Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Talks are yet to start despite 2017-2021 CBA ending June 30.
  • Only two commissioners have been in office since March 19, seven have retired.

MPs want to know whether a dysfunctional Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is to blame for delays to conclude pay-rise negotiations and recruit new tutors to bridge a biting shortage.

Lawmakers yesterday pressed TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia to tell them whether quorum hitches that have rocked the commission have risked the welfare of teachers, including negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Only two commissioners have been in office since March 19, as seven have retired. 

The two cannot make binding decisions as the nine-member commission is only considered legally constituted with at least half of the members.

TSC is yet to start negotiations with unions despite the fact that the 2017-2021 CBA ends on June 30.  Education committee chairperson Florence Mutua said without a quorum, the commission is unable to operate.

“Can the CEO explain why she did not notify the President when she realised that the commission lacks quorum to decide on teachers issues? How have they been operating?” Ms Mutua asked. Migori woman rep Pamela Odhiambo lamented the quorum hitch, saying, teachers’ issues are crucial.

“Some of the commissioners retired in 2019, why has it taken too long to pick their replacement?” Dr Odhiambo asked.

TSC is responsible for recruitment, promotion, disciplinary processes and reviewing the standards of education and training of teachers. However, Ms Macharia dismissed claims that lack of quorum had affected the functions of the commission.

Streamline teaching profession

She said TSC has been focusing on implementing earlier decisions, adding, it is not within her purview to notify the President on retirement of commissioners.

TSC chairperson Lydia Nzomo retired last year while Commissioner Cleophas Tirop left in March 2019.

Commissioners Mbarak Twahir, Tache Bosa Gollo, Betreace Marembo Adu, Kinoti Manyara and Mr Albert Fred Ekirapa retired in March this year.

Yesterday, the National Assembly approved the appointment of Dr Jamleck Muturi as chairperson and Mr Alfred Otieno Oyucho as a commissioner. 

During his vetting, Dr Muturi pledged to work with the Ministry of Education, unions and other stakeholders to streamline the teaching profession and restore the commission’s relationships with unions.

The committee has also recommended that the House approves the nomination of Prof Fatuma Chege as the Principal Secretary for State department for the Implementation of Curriculum Reforms in the ministry.

Before her appointment Prof Chege was the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Administration at the Kenyatta University.