Treasury: TSC to lose sh18.9 billion for confirming 46,000 intern teachers

Treasury: TSC to lose sh18.9 billion for confirming 46,000 intern teachers

The Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung’u has warned that the government will lose sh 200 billion should the finance bill fail to sail through.

CS Ndung’u who wrote to the Clerk of the National Assembly yesterday says it will not be possible to confirm the 46,000 intern teachers now on the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) payroll.

He said the TSC will lose a total of sh 18.9 billion which was set aside for converting the teachers to permanent and pensionable terms.

He further warned that massive budget cuts will be done across all the three arms of government that is the judiciary, parliament and executive.

TSC has on its payroll a total of 46,000 teachers serving on internship terms.

These are 21,550 junior school and 4,000 primary school intern teachers recruited in February 2023. 450 secondary school intern teachers recruited in April 2023. 18,000 junior school and 2,000 primary school intern teachers recruited in September 2023.

Recently the Kenya Kwanza government had assured that all the 46,000 teachers employed on internship terms will be converted to permanent and pensionable terms, .

In a statement following a Parliamentary Group Meeting on Tuesday, National Assembly Finance Committee Chair Kimani Kuria said enough funds have been allocated for that.

“The PG was also informed that adequate funds sh18 billion have been provided for the employment of all 46,000 Junior Secondary teachers who are on internship,” Kimani said.

In addition TSC was allocated funds to hire 20,000 new interns beginning next month to curb the shortage of teachers especially in grade 9 which will launch in January next year.

“The Funds have also been provided to hire 20,000 interns next month. The policy is now to transition teachers from internship to permanent and pensionable terms,” he added.

Though sh18 billion was provided to employ all teachers on internship terms, TSC says this is not enough for the exercise.

The allocation towards the employment of the intern teachers comes after months of a standoff, a strike, layoffs and even a pending court case between the interns and the employer.

While appearing before Parliament in May, the Teachers Service Commission indicated that it required Sh30 billion to convert all the intern contracts to permanent and pensionable terms.

Due to budget shortfalls, TSC sought to employ the teachers in two batches; the first was to absorb 26,000 teachers and the second recruitment would admit the remaining 20,000.

For the first batch of 26,000 teachers, the TSC projected Sh6.6 billion would be needed to convert intern posts to permanent employment.

This now means that the Sh18 billion will be sufficient to successfully hire the first cohort of 26,000 senior interns in permanent and pensionable terms.

As a result, the fate of the 20,000 junior interns will remain uncertain as funds are not appropriated in the 2024/2025 budget.

The employment of teachers on an internship basis has been a point of concern leading to a standoff, a strike, layoffs and even a pending court case between the interns and TSC.

The interns argue that they are subjected to unfair labour practices as they execute the same workload as their peers on permanent and pensionable terms but are paid much less.

In April, the Employment and Labour Relations Court suspended the employment of tutors on an intern basis agreeing with the interns that it was an unfair labour practice.

But the teachers’ employer contested the decision by Justice Bryum Ongaya at the Court of Appeal and got a reprieve recently.

The court’s three judges said the hiring of teachers in internship positions be stopped until an appeal is heard and determined. 

This means, TSC now has the last laugh as the aggrieved teachers will have to continue working as interns until the case filed by the Dr Nancy Macharia led commission is heard and determined.

In the application, TSC claimed that the orders by Justice Ongaya had thrown its operations into a spin as the money required to hire the intern teachers on permanent and pensionable terms was not budgeted for.

The judgement was stayed till 1st August 2024 when intern teachers will know their fate in terms of employment and compensation.

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