School administrators should no longer be union officials, report

School administrators should no longer be union officials, report

Teachers holding school administrative posts and are also union officials must give up one position, a conciliation team recommended yesterday.

The team appointed to mediate a dispute between the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said the administrators should either relinquish their elective posts and serve their employer, or vice versa, to avoid a conflict of interest.

This means that about 21,000 primary school heads, 22,000 deputies and 23,000 senior teachers, who are Knut officials will most likely have to give up union politics and focus on teaching.

The team appointed by Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani late last year has been trying to arbitrate between the union and the TSC over teacher transfers, performance contracting, professional development programmes and promotions. Mr Charles Maranga is chairing the nine-member team.

TRANSFERS

Knut had last year asked its 200,000 members not to report to work in the beginning of the year until the new policies, which it said were punitive, were shelved and renegotiated.

In a report tabled in court yesterday, the team recommended that the TSC should only transfer union officials within their locality until the end of their term.

The committee endorsed the delocalisation policy, which stipulates that teachers be moved outside their home regions to enhance social integration and foster an appreciation of various cultures.

It said the transfers are lawful, procedural and within the purview of the employment contracts.

The committee, however, asked the TSC to consult Knut before moving the teachers, “for good industrial relations”.

BREACH

Knut’s position is that the TSC has been carrying out the transfers and promotions arbitrarily, contrary to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The union has also accused the TSC of coming up with career progression guidelines outside the CBA and of acting in bad faith by transferring teachers in breach of the code of regulations.

The committee recommended that TSC should continue with the transfer of head teachers and administrators who are not union officials, in accordance with the code of regulations for teachers.

It said that school managers could not be expected to competently appraise and supervise teachers who had elected them to union positions.

It said administrators are appointed and charged with managerial and administrative duties, such as supervising curriculum implementation, ensuring safety and security of institutional resources and recommending teachers for promotion.

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