P1 teachers wallow in poverty despite upgrading their studies

P1 teachers wallow in poverty despite upgrading their studies

Something happened early this month. Employment and Labour Relations Court made a ruling ordering the National Police Service (NPS) to recognize and pay police constables who upgraded their studies in various accredited Universities.

This is after a group of police constables who upgraded their studies and graduated at the Universities protested and took their employer to court for failing to promote them after acquiring degree certificates.

Following the ruling now over 1,700 graduate police constables will be promoted from Job Group F to Job Group J.

Infact the Court not only ordered the NPS to promote the graduate police constables but also to pay them with arrears.

As a result, the affected officers are expected to get around Sh400,000 each in arrears, totaling to over Sh700 million.

However its a hopeless situation facing primary school teachers after spending thousands of shillings to enhance their teaching skills.

Details show that thousands of primary school teachers in lower cadre are undergoing rough economic times despite spending huge sums of money to upgrade their studies in various institutions.

The teachers after spending their all and acquiring loans to get the expensive education have nothing to smile about. They are ‘poor shujaaz’.

Early before 2014 primary school teachers enjoyed automatic promotion after acquiring various academic certificates from universities and colleges through in-service training.

A P1 teacher after graduating with a degree or diploma at the university or college and submitting it to the Commission would receive an acknowledgement letter indicating that the submitted document has been received.

This will then be followed with promotion of the teacher to a better job group depending on the quality of the new certificate.

Graduate teachers were moved from job group G to job group K while for diploma teachers they were moved to job group H.

TSC recognized a number of diploma and degree certificates which included Diploma in ECDE, Diploma in education (primary option), Diploma in SNE, Degree in education (primary option), Degree in education (secondary option) and Degree in ECDE.

TSC promoted teachers based on the Schemes of Service (SoS) for teachers. However in January 2014 something happened. TSC stopped automatic promotion of teachers who upgraded their studies.

Instead the Commission introduced the Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) to replace the Schemes of Service.

This it did after signing the sh 54 billion Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2017 to 2021 with Knut and Kuppet.

There have been protests since then with teachers in primary and secondary schools saying CPG has only led to job stagnation.

So far TSC only recognizes P1 teachers who have degree in education (secondary option). The Commission promotes them by deploying them to teach in secondary schools.

The teachers must also have scored at least C+ (plus) in KCSE and at least C+ (plus) in the two teaching subjects.

Thousands of P1 teachers who joined universities with KCSE grade C (plain) to study degree in education (secondary option) were locked out following TSC move.

In June last year the National Assembly recommended promotion of teachers who have acquired higher qualifications while in service.

This was after a successful petition by a splinter union led by its spokesperson Martha Omolo.

The petition was presented before the House on February 18, 2022 by former Knut boss Wilson Sossion on behalf of Mrs Omolo.

The Kenya National Teachers Pressure Group (KNTPG), petitioned Parliament to compel TSC to promote teachers who have acquired diplomas, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees while in service.

As a result, the MPs recommended that TSC should continue recognizing and acknowledging higher qualifications acquired by teachers while in service.

“The TSC should within six months of adoption of this report open negotiations with teachers’ unions on the Career Progression Guidelines (CPGs) and uphold the rights of teachers who have acquired relevant qualifications at the time of their in-service. Further TSC shall give guidelines on relevant courses to be undertaken by teachers,” reads the report by the then Education and Research Committee adopted by MPs.

The MPs noted the promotions would be “in accordance with Unesco/ILO recommendations of 1966 that codify intellectual rights of teachers who undertake and conclude relevant in-service courses.”

Further in the report TSC was restrained from using the CPG which it introduced in 2016 to disadvantage serving teachers.

“The TSC should ensure that any amendment to the Code of Regulation for Teachers is approved by Parliament and that the CPGs should not whatsoever affect or take away any existing benefit of serving teachers,” reads the report by the previous committee chaired by former Busia Woman representative Florence Mutua.

However the recommendations were just like water under the bridge they were never implemented.

When TSC CEO Dr Nancy Macharia appeared in parliament for questioning she 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).

Currently TSC has adopted Teacher Professional Development (TPD) as a benchmark training for promoting teachers.

In this plan teachers will be required to study six TPD Modules for a period of five years each. The Commission will issue TPD points to teachers in each chapter of the module completed.


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