Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will now be at the mercy of the Ministry of Education for it to execute most of its functions some of which gave it more powers and teeth to bite.
The Commission is reduced significantly and literally made a department at the Ministry of Education.
The changes are captured in the report by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER) that was unveiled by President William Ruto at State House on Tuesday, 1st August 2023.
The president already ordered immediate implementation of the recommendations of the education taskforce that was led by Prof Raphael Munavu.
In the new changes which the team recommended its implementation to be done within twelve months, TSC will lose major powers to the Ministry.
However some changes will need an act of parliament while others may require a referendum.
1. Regulator of the Education sector
Currently, the Commission is the employer and at the same time acts as a regulator in the education sector.
The Taskforce has now recommended the establishment of a different regulatory body known as the Kenya Professional Teaching Standards (KePTS).
2. Quality assurance
The Taskforce observed that there was a duplicate of the quality assurance function between the TSC and the Ministry of Education.
This is despite the Constitution mandating the Commission to review the standards of education and train persons entering the teaching service while ensuring that teachers comply with the teaching standards set.
It has proposed that TSC regulations be amended to cure the duplication and that the role be solely handled by the Ministry.
Also all TSC employees falling under the quality assurance department like Curriculum Support Officers (CSO) will be moved to the Ministry.
3. Accountability of headteachers and principals
The school heads are at the moment answerable to the Commission but in the new changes, it has been proposed that TSC will only be tasked with employing and deploying.
The public service commission framework has been borrowed in the changes where the heads will be the agents of the Ministry in the management of the institutions thus accountable to it as accounting and authorized officers.
4. CBC and other teacher training
Under the current system, the Commission is responsible for the retraining of teachers for competency-based curriculum (CBC).
TSC Act, in fact, provides that the Commission shall undertake career progression and professional development programmes for registered teachers.
However, it has been proposed that the Ministry will take over the role including paying of teachers allowances.
5. Teacher Transfers
While the Commission has been making decisions on the transfers of teachers, Ruto’s taskforce has suggested that this be done jointly with the Ministry of Education.
In short TSC will have to seek for permission and approval before transferring teachers.
The Ministry will sit on the committees that are deploying, and transferring head teachers and principals.
6. Teacher Disciplinary cases
TSC will no longer handle disciplinary matters and appeals on decisions as it is currently, instead, this will be the mandate of an Education appeals tribunal.
This means any member aggrieved by the decision of the TSC shall appeal to the Tribunal
Presently, the TSC Act does not make provision for an appeal.
The code of regulation for teachers provides that the discipline process will be administered at the Commission’s headquarters and at the county level, and there is established an ad-hoc Committee of the Commission known as the Teachers Service Review Committee which shall consider and determine reviews arising from the discipline process under regulations.
7. Teacher Promotions
Article 237 (2) (c) and (d) of the Constitution mandates TSC to promote teachers. The Taskforce noted however that this has been done without the involvement of the Ministry thus a recommendation that TSC consult the Ministry in the changes.
8. Health insurance cover
It has been proposed that moving forward, a review of the teachers’ health insurance scheme be done.
This will be done between the TSC and the Ministry.
9. Management of Information
Section 42 (5) of the TSC Act provides that the right of access to information under Article 35 of the Constitution states will be limited to the nature and extent specified under that Section.
It has been proposed that Section 42 (5) be deleted.
The Commission will also be registered by the data commissioner as a data controller subject to the Data Protection Act.
The team sought views from the public and other sector stakeholders to inform its terms of reference with respect to the reform of the education sector in Kenya.
10. Conduct of the affairs of the Commission
The quorum of a meeting of the commission as it is now is such that it is one-half of the members.
The new report states that a quorum shall be two-thirds of the members.