The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) CEO Dr. Nancy Macharia has delivered a response regarding promotion and deployment of teachers who have acquired higher academic certificates.
Macharia’s response follows a petition tabled in the National Assembly by Hon Wilson Sossion who is also a nominated MP and a former Knut secretary general early February.
Sossion’s petition followed Kenya National Teachers Pressure Group (KNTPG) members Martha Omollo, Eva Muchemi and Salvin Munene who wanted TSC to recognize by promoting teachers with higher academic papers.
Sossion and colleague legislatures wanted TSC to allow teachers who scored KCSE mean grade C (plain) or below and acquired Diploma’s, Post graduate Diploma’s and Degree’s from various accredited learning institutions to be promoted and deployed without restrictions.
The law makers had argued that the Commission cannot trash qualifications which universities and colleges approved leading to the teachers to acquire the higher academic papers.
However Nancy Macharia’s has said it will not be possible to promote the huge number of teachers who have upgraded their certificates.
Macharia stated that the increase in the number of teachers attaining higher qualifications made the policy to promote teachers automatically unsustainable hence the Commission stopped automatic promotions on 9th January 2014.
“The high number of teachers attaining higher qualifications made the policy fiscally unsustainable,” said Dr. Macharia.
Data from the Commission revealed that there were about 218,077 teachers in public primary schools as at 2020.
21,632 teachers (9,821 male and 11,811 female) had Diploma qualifications, while 17,930 teachers (8,627 male and 9,303 female) had Bachelor Degrees.
About 491 teachers had Masters and Doctoral degrees (197 male and 294 female) while the rest had certificate qualifications.
In Post Primary institutions, there were about 113,155 teachers as at 2020. 1, 725 teachers (909 male teachers and 816 female teachers) had Masters and Doctoral Degrees (PhD).
Previously primary school teachers who acquired higher qualifications from a recognized institution were automatically promoted to Job Group J and K respectively.
However Macharia said the number of teachers have since outnumbered the allocated funds for promotions.
“This automatic promotion was possible due to the fact that there were adequate funded vacancies in the establishment,” said Macharia.
She said that in 2016, the entire public service, on the advice of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and in keeping with international best practices, transited from qualifications-based remuneration framework to the Job worth concept.
As a result of this, TSC and SRC conducted a Job Evaluation (JE) exercise in 2016 for the teaching sector with a view of obtaining the relevant worth of every job in the teaching service.
This resulted in a more viable and appropriate career growth for teachers that are predictable, equitable and sustainable.
Dr. Macharia further stated that the JE Report informed the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations between the Commission and the teachers unions, Knut and Kuppet, which saw TSC and the unions collectively and voluntarily negotiating a CBA that embraced the Job worth concept of remuneration.
“The job evaluation introduced the Patterson Grading Structure that focuses on the worth of the Job being performed by each employee as a basis for remuneration. It is this remuneration framework that accords to the constitutional imperatives enunciated under Article 230 of the Constitution which includes productivity, affordability, wage sustainability, certainty, predictability and parity,” said Macharia.
She maintained that the transition from qualification-based remuneration framework was not unilateral since the same was discussed with the teachers unions at several meetings before the cut-off date was settled on.
She further added that the Commission still recognizes higher qualification as a basis for promotion alongside other criteria as set out in the CPG and that the allegations that the Commission arbitrarily stopped recognizing higher qualifications is factually incorrect and lacks foundational basis.
“A good case in point is that, under the CPG, for a teacher to be promoted to the position of Headteacher at Grade C5 or Senior Headteacher at Grade D1, he/she must be a holder of the Bachelor’s Degree in Education,” she added.
Macharia further stated that the CBA read together with the CPG provided a structural career progression path for each cadre in the teaching service.
According to the TSC boss, the CPG maps out teachers promotion based on established criteria, declared vacancies and budgetary provisions while at the same time takes into consideration the higher qualifications attained by a teacher during his/her professional life.
She echoed out that in the 2021-2025 CBA, TSC together with Knut, Kuppet and Kusnet reiterated that the CPG in place and the CORT should be the only policy frameworks used to guide the promotion of teachers.
“Promotion of teachers from one grade to another is guided by the provisions of the CORT and the CPG. These two instruments provide the minimum qualification required for each grade and the conditions to be met before a teacher is promoted to the next grade,” said Macharia.
In the same petition, Hon. Sossion expressed concern that Section 35(2) (a) of the TSC Act, 2012 emphasizes on the need for the Commission to require every registered teacher to undertake career progression and professional development programmes.
Sossion wanted the house to recommend that TSC should immediately put in place the necessary policy guidelines to promote or upgrade teachers who successfully acquire higher qualifications from recognized institutions in line with international best practices and recommendations of the International Labour Organization (ILO)/UNESCO Conference (1966) on the Status of Teachers.
Macharia noted that Clause 44 of the ILO recommendations requires that promotion of teachers should be based on an objective assessment of a teacher’s qualifications for the new post, by reference to strictly professional criteria laid down in consultation with teachers’ organizations.
“That is what the Commission has done and will continue doing from time to time,” she said.
She further noted that no employee in the entire civil service, including employees of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), Judicial Service Commission (JSC), and Public Service Commission (PSC), is automatically promoted upon attaining a higher qualification.
“All public servants are promoted based on authorised establishment, declared vacancies, budgetary allocations and other objective criteria set out in their respective Human Resource Manuals. The Commission has endeavored to apply the principle of fair competition and merit as the basis of promotion. The Commission also considers other factors such as budgetary provisions, authorised establishments, performance as well as the principles of equity, fairness, and regional balance,” said Macharia.
She stressed that CPG is a comprehensive guide encompassing all the necessary factors to be considered in teacher promotion.
For instance, the CPG outlines academic and professional standards for teacher career advancement, a linkage of teacher’s career progression to the output and professional standards, and performance and experience.
“The Career Progression Guidelines therefore integrates contemporary best practices in teacher management. Pursuant to these guidelines, higher qualifications are considered as added advantage during the promotion process and a minimum requirement for headship in Primary schools,” added Macharia.
In 2017, TSC made a policy decision to annually deploy 1,000 Primary School teachers who have acquired higher qualifications and also meet the required standards to secondary schools, which is done competitively to ensure that the principle of fair competition is achieved.
Each year the Commission advertises 1,000 vacancies for practicing P1 teachers with degree in secondary option to teach in secondary schools.
The teachers are deployed to teach in secondary option but they must have scored mean grade C+ (plus) in KCSE and C+ (plus) in the two teaching subjects.
Once deployed the teachers start at job group C2 and later automatically move to job group C3 after completing three years.
The Commission ruled out promotion of teachers with mean grade C (plain) to secondary schools.
TSC argued that it raised the entry grade in the teaching service so that it can have the right people to teach the children.
According to TSC it will require 36,000 new teachers to handle junior secondary classes starting next year.