TSC officers accused of demanding bribes to transfer teachers

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Some officers from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) serving in the North Rift region have been accused of demanding bribes to effect transfers of delocalized teachers to their home counties.

The officials from Trans-Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, and Bungoma Counties are said to be allegedly demanding bribes from the affected teachers to be rerouted back home despite the Kenya kwanza Government having scrapped the delocalization policy.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) officials in West Pokot County have protested over the move accusing the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) of being an impediment for local teachers to return home.

According to the West Pokot County KNUT Executive Secretary Martin Sembelo, the county is very much understaffed by 2500 teachers.

“Why should we lack teachers? We have our delocalized teachers in Trans-Nzoia and Uasingishu Counties.

We want TSC to give them transfers to come back home.

Let them be released so that they come back home.

Many have cried that they have been denied the chance to come back home.

Even if those nonlocal people have not gone they can work together to fill the gap of the understaffed,” he said.

He said that the Teachers’ Salary Subsidy cannot be implemented well without enough teachers.

“We know that the budgetary allocation to the TSC may not be allowed but we need special consideration to this marginalized county.

“We don’t want to wrangle with TSC. Let them come and render services to our children. It was passed in parliament unanimously and endorsed by all MPs. We are perturbed and dismayed as a union,” said Mr Sembelo.

He said there is a deliberate scheme by TSC at headquarters to reroute back nonlocals to West Pokot County hence locals are denied the chance to unite with their families, a thing that has led to family breakups.

“We want TSC to move with maximum speed and minimum delay and reroute local teachers back to West Pokot,” he said.

He noted that the nonlocal teachers want to stay in West Pokot County because of the hardship allowances.

“The morale of teachers is very low. There was no communication during delocalization and now we don’t want many conditions. The regional education Director should take responsibility,” he said.

The official called on area leaders to intervene in the matter.

“We are not chasing nonlocals and we want our native teachers back in West Pokot. It was a must to be delocalized and it should be a must for them to be rerouted,” he said.

Mr. Sembelo noted that West Pokot County was understaffed and the coming back of local teachers would be a plus.

“We call on the President to intervene and instruct TSC to do the necessary. Many families are separated and there are many cases,” said Mr Sembelo.

He noted that the delocalization of teachers is inconsistent with the UNESCO teacher deployment practice, which treats education as a cultural process conducted within a people’s cultural context at the local level.

“With the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNESCO laws and practices on teacher management and deployment,” he said.

The unionist noted that local teachers will be vital in teaching the indigenous language subject.

“TSS will be okay when teachers will be back in their respective Home Counties. Primary teachers sign chatter with UNESCO and the first language of instruction is a language of the catchment area,” said Mr Sembelo.

Knut West Pokot Chairman Joel Patrich explained that for the indigenous language subject in Competency-based Curriculum [CBC] to succeed; delocalized teachers need to return home to assist their families.

TSC was given an ultimatum to reroute all teachers with a deadline of 31, January 2023 but this has not taken place in some counties.

A number of teachers from West Pokot County who were delocalized to other counties have raised concerns over being denied the chance to be rerouted back home.

This has led to a crisis where there is an acute teacher shortage in West Pokot County.

The delocalization policy that was initiated by the Teachers Service Commission in 2018 was done away with in November 2022 after parliament passed a motion by Lurambi MP Titus Khamala.

About 6,000 teachers in the Country were affected by the delocalization policy, which saw several teachers transferred away from their preferred schools.

Teachers who spoke to Education News on condition of anonymity noted that they have not been rerouted back home because education officers in the counties they are working now want bribery.

‘I have tried my level best to go back to West Pokot County but am asked to give Shs 100,000 to be released.

We are supposed to be rerouted back unconditionally,” said a teacher from Trans-nzoia County.

“I have given up because someone somewhere wants to misuse me,” claimed one female teacher.

Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto said that the area was marginalized, calling on the officials at the Teachers Service Commission [TSC] to visit West Pokot and assess the situation before transferring teachers frequently to hardship zones.

“Teachers who are used to the weather and terrain in West Pokot County should be left to teach in places where they know the challenges that befall them because they are used to the challenges,” he said.

West Pokot County Teachers Service Commission Director, Bernard Kimachasi noted that the County has a deficit of 2000 in primary and 800 in secondary schools.

“The deficit is general in the whole country and we need more teachers,” he said.

By Evans Kapusia

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