Its now a relief for teachers employed by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) as a bill seeking to compel the Commission to confirm them within six months of acting is presented in Parliament.
The Bill sponsored by Embakasi Central MP Benjamin Gathiru seeks to amend the current Act by prescribing that no public officer should be in any acting capacity beyond six months.
In the past teachers have been acting as school administrators (Senior Teachers, Senior Masters, Deputy Hradteachers, Deputy Principals, Headteachers, Denior Headteachers, Principals, Senior Princiapal) for many years without being confirmed to the new position.
Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has been accusing TSC of failing to confirm teachers who work in acting administrative positions for a long time.
Mr Omboko Milemba, the national chairman of the Kuppet, said that the current career progression guidelines (CPG) make it difficult for classroom teachers to get promotions unless they are in administrative positions.
Milemba said this amounts to bills for services rendered but not paid for, saying its a misuse of labour by the Commission.
“This is a pending bill that’s not quantified. This is an exploitation of labour by the TSC and the government. I’ve put a question in Parliament but I’m doing research with my office staff to back the numbers. It’s become impossible to be promoted unless you’re in administration,” said Mr Milemba, who is also the MP for Emuhaya constituency. He said the most affected are teachers in grades C3 and C4.
On Thursday August 3, the National Assembly’s Labour committee, while considering the Public Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2023, also said it will introduce an amendment to the proposed legislation to cap the retirement age at 55.
Kangundo MP Fabian Muli said if the committee is to serve the interest of the youth, then it should propose further amendments to the Bill to reduce the retirement age.
“We need to think further and reduce the age to 55 to make the youth of this country proud,” Mr Muli said.
He declared that should the committee fail to factor in the age reduction amendment, he would propose the change as an individual.
Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga said the committee needs to amend the necessary legal provisions on the retirement age.
“We need to get to know how the 60 years retirement age was arrived at so that we can amend those provisions,” Mr Chonga said.
Lunga Lunga MP Mangale Munga, while supporting the reduction of the retirement age, said there is a need to cater for the growth of young people.
“Why 60 years? It should be made 55 years old so as to make space for the young people. That is a proposal, it might be popular or unpopular but that is what I think,” Mr Munga said.
Mr Gathiru said: “I have given the committee leeway to amend the Bill but we should not lose the meaning and its intention,” Mr Gathiru said.
If the proposals sail through, it will mean that the majority of civil servants expected to retire in the next five years will go home earlier, a move that will have far-reaching implications, including burdening a government already struggling with finances through a heavier pension bill.
The mandatory retirement age was in 2009 raised from 55 to 60 years as the government struggled to cope with a growing pensions bill.
The National Treasury paid out Sh69.22 billion in pension and gratuity in the six months to December 2021
A 2016 audit showed that 35 per cent of employees in the national government were aged between 51 and 60 years.
According to the Public Service Commission (PSC) annual report for the Financial Year 2021/2022, a total of 3,958 officers exited the service in 47 ministries departments and agencies.T
he Public Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2023 proposes that a person may be appointed in acting capacity for a period of at least 30 days but not exceeding six months.
According to the proposed legislation, a person will only be appointed to hold a public office in acting capacity after meeting all qualifications for that particular officer.
“An acting appointment shall be in favour of a public officer who is duly qualified and competent to perform the duty and not undermine the expeditious appointment or deployment of a competent person to the public office concerned,” reads the Bill
If one is appointed in acting capacity without the requisite qualifications, such appointment will be revoked by the Public Service Commission immediately.