The exact powers that will be clipped from TSC under new reforms

TSC teachers
TSC headquarters in Nairobi. /Photo Courtesy

The recent release of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER) report which now paves the way for radical changes in the education sector has shown that the country’s teacher employer, the Teacher Service Commission (TSC), is heading for a major shakeup if the recommendations of the report will be adopted as they are.

President William Ruto’s education reform task force which was chaired by Prof. Raphael Munavu has now limited the powers of TSC in managing teachers, deployment and promotion, and quality assurance; where Prof. Munavu’s report has made far-reaching recommendations that now give the Ministry of Education a big say in TSC’s operations and even the Commission completely losing some of its functions.

And now moving forward, TSC will no longer transfer any teacher without consulting the Ministry of Education. Deployment, transfer and promotion of teachers by TSC will now be done in consultation with the Ministry; which will now sit in the committees that are deploying, transferring and promoting of teachers, headteachers and principals.

The taskforce observed various discrepancies in that, Article 237 (2) (c) and (d) of the constitution mandate TSC to deploy, transfer and promote teachers. On its part, the Ministry runs the schools through the BoMs and the day-to-day activities of the school are undertaken by the Headteacher in the case of a primary school and a Principal in the case of a Secondary school on behalf of MoE.

The teachers on the other hand are employees of TSC but they run and implement the curriculum developed by MoE through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) which the taskforce finds as ironical.

“The management and running of schools is the responsibility of the national Government through MoE. TSC on the other hand has responsibility over teachers as their employer. Consequently, in the discharge of these respective mandates in a manner that ensures seamless delivery of all learning activities, MoE and TSC develop structured consultation mechanisms. In addition, TSC to focus on the human resource function,” the reports add.

With this development, the Ministry will now have a big say in the deployment and promotion of teachers raising questions as to whether the TSC Staffing docket which is one of the most powerful dockets in the Commission will have a say in teacher promotion and deployment.

For purposes of accountability of Headteachers and Principals, TSC will only employ and deploy them in basic education institutions and they will be agents of MoE in the management of the institutions thus directly accountable to the Ministry as accounting and authorized officers.

The reform team in its final report noted that the framework should be borrowed from the Public Service Commission (PSC) thus a provision should be included in the Basic Education Act to state that: “head teacher and principals in a basic education institution shall be agents of the MoE.”

Currently, Head teachers and Principals are employed and deployed by TSC to manage basic education institutions but are not accountable to MoE, who is the owner and financier of the schools.

The current provision that allows TSC to be Alfa and Omega in hearing disciplinary cases for teachers has been scrapped.

Now, a teacher who is aggrieved by the decision of TSC shall now have room for appeal to the Education Appeals Tribunal as provided for in the Education Appeals Tribunal Bill which seeks to amend the TSC Act by introducing a new Section 4 6A to allow the appeal.

According to the recommendations contained in the report, TSC has completely lost the quality assurance functions with the report suggesting that within six months, the TSC Quality Assurance and Standards (QAS) Directorate which was headed by Dr. Reuben Nthamburi as the Director be disbanded and transferring its functions and officers to the Ministry.

This is after the report recommended that the government harmonize the quality assurance function in the Basic Education sector by ensuring that MoE QAS Directorate has the legal authority to oversee Quality Assurance and Standards function.

By Education News reporter

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Education News - Newspaper Vol 281