The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will suspend teacher transfers and leaves to allow planning and administration of 2023 national exams.
Currently planning is ongoing on how teachers will invigilate and supervise the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).
Around 1,415,315 candidates will sit for KCPE exam, while another 903,260 will take the KCSE test. A total of 1,282,574 Grade Six learners will also sit for KPSEA.
TSC will however resume mass transfer of teachers for teachers with suitable replacements in December this year.
Last month Education Cabinet Ezekiel Machogu revealed that some 26,871 teachers are yet to be transferred back to their home counties due to a lack of suitable placements.
As of June 30, some 46,926 primary and secondary school teachers had requested to be transferred back to their home counties, but only 20,055 were transferred back.
Appearing before the Senate, Mr Machogu said the TSC will ensure that the station the teacher is leaving has a suitable replacement and that the station to which the teacher has applied for transfer has a vacancy.
“This will enable the commission to ensure equitable distribution and optimal utilisation of teachers across the country for the benefit of all learners. The transfer policy has already been reversed. It is no longer in place,” he said in response to a question from Nandi Senator Samson Cherargey on the status of the delocalisation policy.
Mr Machogu noted that TSC, in the exercise of its mandate to transfer and post teachers, it has “to ensure equitable distribution and optimal utilisation of teachers in all public basic education institutions to ensure that learners throughout the country have access to quality education as required by Article 43 of the Constitution”.
The CS said TSC had introduced delocalisation-in which teachers were transferred to schools outside their place of origin-to promote national cohesion and integration, prevent conflict of interest in the management of schools and address teacher shortages in some parts of the country.
“Teachers who wish to be considered for transfer from one institution to another must submit a request. The transfer of teachers from one institution to another will be guided by the need for equitable distribution and optimum utilisation of teachers,” the CS said.
Other criteria include the availability of vacancies in the proposed station, the need for replacement, existing staffing norms, medical reasons or other reasons that the TSC may consider.
The CS said once a teacher applies for a transfer to a county of his or her choice, it is the responsibility of TSC to ensure that there are suitable vacancies, replacements and a balance of staff across the country before the transfer is approved.
“This is to discourage mass evacuation of teachers from one station to another, which can have the effect of disrupting learning in an institution to the detriment of learners,” he explained.
Mr Machogu said the commission was considering transfer requests in a systematic and coordinated manner. He added that lack of suitable replacements is a major challenge, especially in the case of principals.
At the primary level, TSC has received 35,959 applications from teachers seeking transfer, but only 17,942 have been transferred, with 18,017 still waiting due to lack of suitable replacements. In post-primary 10, 967 teachers have applied for transfer, but only 2,113 have been transferred.
The Commission has declined to transfer non-local teachers working in North Eastern despite their protests.
In regret letters to the teachers, the TSC said it cannot transfer the teachers due to a lack of suitable replacements.
The teachers who received their regret letter from TSC confirmed that their employer directed that they report to their workstations by September 9 or face disciplinary action.
Affected teachers have been camping at the TSC headquarters in Upper Hill for the last two weeks seeking transfers from Wajir, Garissa and Mandera Counties.
“Your request for transfer out of North Eastern region is acknowledged by TSC. However, due to the lack of a suitable replacement, your request is hereby declined,” TSC said in a regret letter to one of the teachers.
“You are therefore directed to report to your workstation by September 7, 2023, failure to which disciplinary action shall be preferred against you.”
An affected teacher said that some 100 teachers had so far received the regret letters from TSC.