By Augustine Oduor
Fresh fears have emerged over attempt by the Ministry of Education to exercise control over the Teachers Service Commission.
The reality came to the fore last week on Friday when Education minister Mutula Kilonzo introduced a new definition of a school principal.
The minister was appearing before the House Education Committee chaired by Mosop MP David Koech.
The meeting was aimed at ironing out grey areas in the draft TSC Bill 2012 before it is presented to the House for debate.
In his definition, Mr Mutula proposed all school principals will be answerable to the Cabinet Secretary, a move rejected by Knut and the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association.
“Principal/head teacher means the lead administrator or educator in an educational institution appointed by the TSC and responsible to the Cabinet Secretary charged with policy guidelines and professional practices that promote synergy for optimal use of outsources in the provision of education in accordance with Schedule Four of the Constitution of Kenya,” read the ministers proposed definition.
But Knut National Chairman Wilson Sossion said making school heads report to the minister means direct interference on the roles of TSC. He said the link between schools and the ministry is through the school boards and cautioned Mutula against making teachers report to the ministry.
“Making the principals and head teachers report to the minister takes away the gains we have made in entrenching TSC as an independent constitutional Commission,” he said.
However, it was agreed that on matters of education policy, school heads and principals should report to the Cabinet Secretary.
“But on other matters relating to education, the principal must report to the employer. This is because at the end of the day these are trained teachers who are employed by TSC,” said Sossion.
It was also agreed that for the first time, school heads and principals will be employed as managers of schools.