Members of Parliament have put the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) on notice over the upcoming recruitment of 35,550 new staff who will work in primary and junior secondary schools.
The lawmakers yesterday told TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia that the recruitment and promotion of teachers have always been riddled with corruption at the expense of merit and experience, a practice, they say, should not be replicated in the recruitment this year.
The National Assembly Committee on Education, that is chaired by Mr Julius Melly (Tinderet) regretted that promotions and recruitment had for long depended on how much one was willing to pay or if one knew someone at TSC, leaving thousands of qualified and deserving teachers unemployed.
The lawmakers pointed out that, while some teachers get permanent employment even three months after leaving college, others who graduated as far back as 2010 are yet to get employment due to corruption.
“Promotions of teachers have been riddled with corruption. There are those who joined the profession recently but, within a few years, have risen through the ranks just because they know who to talk to and what to do,” Mr Melly said.
To avoid money exchanging hands during this years’ recruitment, Mr Melly told TSC to put more oversight measures during the process.
“You can engage members here to go to their various constituencies to monitor the process and listen to what people say about the it,” Mr Melly said.
Mr Timothy Kipchumba (Marakwet West) told the TSC boss to ensure that this years’ recruitment is done in a fair way to give the deserving teachers a chance to serve the country.
“Ensure that the process is free, fair and credible because this committee will be judged harshly if the process doesn’t go the right way,” Mr Kipchumba said.
In a notice circulated last Friday, TSC announced vacancies for 9,000 posts on permanent and pensionable terms for junior secondary school teachers and another 1,000 for primary school tutors.
TSC will also recruit 21,550 teacher interns in junior secondary schools and another 4,000 for primary schools.
Lugari MP Nabii Nabwera claimed that thousands of teachers have remained in the same position for years without promotion while others are serving in their positions on acting capacities awaiting confirmation from TSC.
“How is the promotion being done because I have teachers in my constituency who have been acting as principals for the past seven years,” Mr Nabwera said.
The MPs accused the commission of engaging in unfair hiring practices, where graduates of over a decade are lumped together with those who left college recently, giving the latter group an undue advantage.
Narok County Woman Representative Rebecca Tonkei on her part lamented that there had been a public outcry over TSC placements in some localities, with many candidates often complaining that they had been left out during the recruitment at the expense of others coming from other places.
Nyamira County Woman Representative Jerusha Momanyi said there teachers who have worked in her constituency for more than three years and have no disciplinary cases but have never been promoted.
Ms Macharia, however, told the MPs the TSC recruitment process has always been free and fair. She, nevertheless, admitted that some unscrupulous individuals normally take advantage of the high unemployment rate in the country to issue fake letters to teachers.
She told MPs that the commission has strict procedures on recruitment, pointing out that several TSC officers who had been found to have engaged in acts of corruption in the past had been dismissed.
“We have sought the assistance of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and we also urge members [of the Committee] to forward any such cases to us for action,” Ms Macharia said.
On the promotion of teachers, Mr Macharia said there is a well laid down procedure indicating how the process is carried out and insisted that no teacher has ever stagnated in the same position for decades.
The TSC boss further denied allegations that some 13,000 teachers who were poised for promotions had been held back due to infighting among the commissioners.
She blamed the delay on the busy academic calendar but promised to effect the pending promotions upon completion of the ongoing national exams.
Promotions, Ms Macharia told the lawmakers, is every teacher’s right and is done after three years and TSC does not charge any amount.
“We have an appraisal system. If a teacher has had a successful service, then he or she should be automatically promoted after three years because that is their right,” Ms Macharia said.