The student teachers want the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to halt the training it plans to roll out next week.
They also want the government to incorporate the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) modules as a unit in their four year under graduate programme.
They said this would enable students get the skills required by the TSC for licensing without the need to be subjected to continuous learning at their cost.
They said they are sending, through a lawyer, a petition to the courts because the government has violated Article 10 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
However the student teachers can only be enjoined at the appeal stage because of a similar case which is still ongoing at the courts.
Joseph Ngethe Karanja filed a petition challenging the TPD program. In a petition filed at the High Court in Nakuru, Ngethe sued the TSC, Education Cabinet Secretary, Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers, Kenya National Union of Teachers, Kenyatta University, Mt Kenya University, Riara University and Kenya Education Management Institute.
Ngethe, in the suit, argues that the decision to have teachers undergo mandatory refresher training violates teachers rights.
“Teachers and education stakeholders were not engaged by TSC in the development of the content of the module to be undertaken in the professional development programme,” says Ngethe in the petition.
Though the case was certified as urgent, Justice David Nderitu of the Employment and Labour Relations Court declined to suspend the TPD programme as directed by the petitioner who wanted all parties to be served by the order before the hearing.
Led by the Pwani University Students Association (PUSA) Secretary General Miss Lavender Okello, the students said they were opposed to the programme and threatened to seek court redress claiming the teachers’ employer violated the Constitution by not subjecting the proposal to public participation.
Already the four TPD service providers have set 26th December 2021 as the last day for teachers to register for the programme saying they need time for logistics and planning.
The training which will take five days will start on 27th December and will be through an online platform.
TSC says both public and private school registered teachers should enroll for the mandatory training which starts this December.
Teachers will pay TPD service providers a capacity building fee of sh. 6,000 yearly.
Most of the service providers have spread the fee to ease the payment burden for teachers.
Its CEO Dr. Nancy Macharia recently warned teachers who will fail to attend the training that they will be dealt with accordingly.
“Teachers who will fail to take the teaching certificate will be dealt with according to the code of regulations for teachers,” said Nancy Macharia in Naivasha.
She said all teachers who will attend the training this December will be issued with a teaching certificate (license).
The license will also be renewed after every five years and only after successfully taking the modules.
Miss Okello said she would mobilize all education undergraduate students in Kenya to oppose the programme that she said would increase the financial woes of teachers since the employer wanted the teachers to pay for the modules.
“I have tried to talk to the Kenya University Students Association but the leadership seems to be afraid to talk about TPD. As a leader representing education students, I will mobilize all education undergraduate students in the country to fight for our rights,” she said.
She lamented that many teachers who had graduated from university and other teacher training institutions had remained jobless for years and wondered where the unemployed teachers would get the money to study the modules.
Miss Okello said if the programme has to be implemented, the government should emulate Ghana, which she said introduced an allowance for teachers to undertake the TPD programme.
“I urge the government to instead include the TPD programme in one of our course units so that when we graduate from university, we will have the skills required by the teachers’ employer and we will not have to go back to class for the same,” she said.
Her sentiments were supported by fellow Bachelor of Education undergraduate students at the university, who also wondered why the government had chosen just a few institutions to implement the course instead of using all the public universities.
Omina Folics said when students graduate, their first priority is to start repaying Higher Education Loans Board loans granted to them during their university years and introducing another cost for them was punitive.
She said the TPD programme would discourage prospective teachers from pursuing courses in education saying they would view the profession as punitive, a factor that could have negative ramifications to the education sector in the future.
Alphonce Owiti said since the TSC had violated the constitution, the only remedy for teachers was to petition the court, adding that students would mobilize resources to seek the intervention of the Judiciary.
The Commission says, TPD points, transcript and a certificate will be issued after successful completion of every module.
Teachers will earn TPD points at the end of each year. Teachers will earn 60 TPD points based on the prescribed modules.
Teachers will also earn 40 TPD points based on professional learning captured under TPAD.
Teachers will first enroll for Introductory Module which will last for 1 year i.e December 2021 to December 2022.
The Introductory Module which starts this December, will be done through an online webinar.