Teachers and their unions have expressed mixed reactions after an announcement by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that more than 14,000 primary and secondary teachers have been promoted to higher job groups.
Some of the promoted include head teachers and deputies who were in acting capacities. However, many teachers were disappointed when they received regret letters on Friday informing them that their applications were not successful.
A teacher who received a letter of regret this week, and who spoke in confidence, said the National Assembly should demand a breakdown of how the promotions were distributed.
The promotion of teachers has been a contentious issue as teachers accuse the employer of frustrating their career progression.
The TSC was allocated Sh1 billion for promotions in the current budget although it had requested for Sh2.2 billion.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) lauded TSC for promoting teachers.
However, they urged their employer to explain the criteria used in promoting the 14,000 teachers and leaving out the rest.
The commission has had to re-advertise the vacancies three times since December last year citing lack of qualified applicants.
However, teachers lay the blame on the commission for stagnation in the same job grades for years.
They warn that lack of teachers in senior administrative positions threatens succession plans as majority of administrators near retirement.
The teachers were interviewed early this year after TSC advertised vacancies including 987 deputy head teacher posts (primary schools), six deputy principal posts (special needs schools) and eight principal posts (special needs schools). The vacancies arose through natural attrition
In an interview, Knut secretary general, Mr Collins Henry Oyuu said teachers have stagnated in job group C1 to C3.
“We are yet to analyse and see who has been promoted and at which level. But we thank TSC for having placed a Sh2.2 billion request for promotions. We know TSC was only given Sh1 billion which was used to promote the teachers. But we want the National Treasury to allocate the remaining amount for promotions. It is long since teachers were promoted in that line,” he said.
The unions said some of those promoted include those who had stagnated for several years awaiting retirement.
“We are happy that more than 14,000 teachers have been promoted. But we were expecting more than 100,000 teachers to be promoted. That is a drop in the ocean, it is just one per cent,” said the Kenya National Union of Teachers Mombasa branch secretary Mr Dan Aloo.
He said in Mombasa, at least 100 teachers have been promoted. A Aloo said more teachers need to be rewarded because of their efforts in implementing the Competency Based Curriculum and the 100 per cent transition policy.
The secretary-general of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Akello Misori said that the union will seek clarity on the promotions when they meet TSC officials on Tuesday to discuss their collective bargaining agreement.
Kuppet Mombasa executive secretary Lynette Khamadi said some of the secondary school teachers promoted have around three to five years before retirement, which beats the purpose.
However, she said Kuppet is happy about the promotions even though there was need to promote more teachers.
“TSC should tell us how they end up with candidates to be promoted and leave the rest. We don’t want blanket regret letters which demoralise our members from applying for such positions,” said Ms Khamadi.
Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers National Chairman Johnson Nzioka said: “Anything done for members to remunerate them more is well appreciated.”
For months TSC has failed to attract enough applicants for the senior administrative posts it has been trying to fill since December last year.
A total of 1,001 posts have remained unfilled, with no applications received in the past six months, even after re-advertising and extending the deadline for applications.
The positions are for chief principals, principals, deputy principals, head teachers, deputy head teachers, senior masters and senior teachers to fill vacancies in institutions that do not have institutional administrators.
The Commission extended the deadline for applications in the hope that more teachers will apply, as many schools operate without permanent administrators.