Teachers Service Commission (TSC) wants the National Assembly to intervene with a bid to have recommendations by a taskforce on the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) thrown out on grounds that they will interfere with its constitutional mandate.
Chief Executive Nancy Macharia, in a brief to the parliamentary Committee on Education, said the proposals by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER), take away its key mandate and functions.
In particular, TSC said despite submitting a comprehensive Memorandum and engaging a committee of the Working Party, the taskforce failed to consider its input on critical matters involving the teaching service.
Said Macharia: “The Commission’s Board has analyzed the recommendations of the Report, and identified areas that will impact its mandate and functions under the Constitution and Statute Law. Specifically, the PWPER did not only exclude the Commission from the list of institutions visited, but also the list of the organizations that submitted their Memoranda to the party.”
She added: “It is the Commission’s considered request that retaining those clauses will not only affect the mandate of the Commission but will also impair the efficient management of the teaching service. It is against this background that the Commission humbly seeks your intervention with a view to aligning the PWPER recommendations to the Constitutional and statutory provisions relating to teacher management.
This will enhance and promote harmony in the teaching service and education sector at large.”
Among the amendments they challenge include those touching on powers of the Ministry of Education, specifically on teacher recruitment and promotion as well as setting of guidelines touching on schools and internships of trainee teachers.
The commission opposes the proposal to give powers to the Ministry of Education to develop guidelines on how all teachers who graduated before 2023 will undergo a mandatory one-year retooling and upgrading programme for compliance with the curriculum change.
According to TSC, the taskforce has erroneously given the ministry powers to carry out the exercise without reference to the Commission on training adding that the recommendation has the effect of restricting employment opportunities for teachers and altering the registration requirements.
Said Macharia: “The recommendation has the effect of restricting employment opportunities for teachers and altering the registration requirements.”
On the proposal to allow the ministry to control operations in learning institutions as well as TSC to decentralize its functions, the commission says the disbandment of the directorate will lead to TSC losing the key functions such as Teacher Registration and Maintenance of the Teacher register, Teacher Performance, Appraisal and Development, Teacher Professional Development, Capacity Building, Improving quality of Teaching Service.
Regarding promotions, deployment of teachers, teacher welfare and institutional administrators which the taskforce recommends that TSC works hand in hand with the Ministry, the commission said that this will render existing policies irrelevant, create ambiguity in the targeted areas of harmonisation as well as lead to potential conflicts in institutional management as the appointment of heads of institution will be a shared role between the Commission and MoE.
Macharia said: “Under the constitution and the TSC Act, strategies for teacher management is a preserve of the Commission. The recommendation to have another entity to co-share in this responsibility will amount to a usurpation of the Commission’s powers and its operational independence.”
On the proposal to have the TSC Act be amended to introduce a new Section 46A, that any person aggrieved by the decision of the Commission may appeal to the Education Appeals Tribunal, Macharia said such an amendment would technically subject all the decisions of the Commission to the proposed Tribunal.
“The proposal will negate the decisional independence of the Commission as provided under Article 249 of the Constitution. The proposed amendment will place the Commission under direct control, supervision and management of the Tribunal,” she said.
On the proposal to have TSC review existing policies and guidelines on Pre- Primary teacher deployment and Institutional administration, the commission said there is likelihood that TSC may be allocated additional functions outside its constitutional mandate.
On the amendments to allow the ministry to review entry grades for pre-service teaching programs, TSC said this will see the subject cluster approach cease being in existence.
Transferring the responsibility to set entry standards of teaching service to the ministry and other entities, she said will amount to usurpation of the constitutional mandate of the Commission.
The proposal to allow MOE to establish a comprehensive school will system where all levels of learning are managed as one institution (PP1 — Grade 9), Macharia said that this will Increase in the number of institutional administrator as well as increase the mandate of the Commission to cover management of Pre-primary education which is a preserve of the County Government.
On the requirement that A candidate with a recognized certificate in a technical subject area from a recognized college shall be considered for Diploma training in the same subject area, TSC said that the prescribed minimum entry mean grade may not be considered at the point of registration adding that this will require a review of the registration requirement and teacher Recruitment policy.
The requirement that the commission should offer all education graduates an opportunity to undertake a mandatory one-year internship programme upon completion of Pre- service training, TSC said that internship program before employment will affect the ongoing internship policy and practice by the Commission.
Said Macharia: “The Commission will require additional financial resources to engage all graduates. There will be need for change in the registration requirements.”