A section of teachers are writing to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) asking for early retirement even as the teachers employer plans to have all its registered teachers trained starting this December.
A TSC teacher enjoys a number of retirements forms which he or she is entitled to. These include;
• Voluntary Early Retirement
• Retirement on Medical Grounds
• Retirement on 10/50 Year Rule
• Retirement in public interest
• Compulsory Retirement on Age Grounds
Any teacher having attained the age of 50 years, may apply to the commission in writing expressing their intention to retire.
The teacher need to have served for at least 10 years in addition to being at least 50 years old.
Also a teacher who voluntarily retires from service shall except under circumstances special by the commission, give the commission a three months’ notice on the intention to retire.
However it is not common for teachers to request for voluntary early retirement.
The recent move by TSC requiring teachers to go back to class seems to push some tutors to hang their boots early.
TSC asked teachers to register for December Teacher Professional Development (TPD) geared towards enhancing their teaching skills which will boost CBC (Competency Based Curriculum) implementation.
The Commission says it has a statutory mandate through TSC Act 2012 section 11(e) to facilitate professional development for teachers.
“Section 35(2)(a) and (b) of the Act and Regulations 48 & 49 of Code of Regulations for Teachers states that, all teachers are obligated to undertake professional development courses as prescribed by the Commission from time to time,” reads TPD framework.
According to the teachers employer each of the 340,000 in its payroll must undertake the mandatory professional courses that will inform their promotion and professional growth.
One teacher who wrote to the Commission says she is hopeful her request to take early retirement will be considered and respected.
“I wish to go out in the field and serve the nation in different way. I believe you will respect my decision to voluntarily retire ahead of my service period and grant me permission to move on with retirement procedures,” says Janerose Njeri Gitonga.
Recently Dr. Sarah Ruto, the Basic Education Chief Administrative Secretary, revealed that only 20,000 teachers have applied for TPD programme scheduled to start this December.
TSC is facing opposition from different quarters with teachers unions, educationists, lawyers and Mps calling for the Commission to bear the cost of training teachers.
The Commission insists all teachers to undergo the mandatory training despite age and status.
Why TSC wants teachers to be trained
According to the Commission most teachers are inadequately trained while some do not adhere to prescribed professional standards, which adversely affect performance.
The teachers’ employer says teachers’ have weaknesses which is evident in ineffective teaching strategies, preparation of professional records, poor classroom management, incompetency in handling learners with special needs and weak assessment and feedback skills that necessitates the training.
TSC says some school heads are not able to analyse books of accounts, communicate effectively with teachers and parents, build a spirit of shared goals for school improvement and also have poor resource utilization abilities.
In addition to these, TSC says content knowledge among a majority of teachers does not attain the set benchmark in English, Mathematics and Science due to poor content mastery.
It is against this backdrop that TSC is seeking to provide teachers with professional training and support throughout their teaching career.
The Commission picked Mount Kenya University, Kenyatta University, Riara University and Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI) to offer TPD training.
The programme will be offered both face to face and virtually (online). Teachers will have face to face training once a year during the December school holidays.
Online training will be offered twice a year during the April and August school holidays.
However the Introductory module scheduled to start this December will be taken virtually.
Teachers will study for a period of thirty years and will pay sh. 6,000 yearly for capacity building.
TSC says teachers will be issued with a teaching certificate only after taking the modules.
Teachers who fail to train will not be issued with a teaching license hence will not be able to teach.