By Mary Kamande
Kenya: Having been born in Kiambu, it was only natural that Jane Wambui, a Bachelor of Education graduate, would request to be posted to a school near her home when the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) hired her.
But as fate would have it, Ms Wambui would some years later seek to be transferred from Kiambu to Murang’a, where she’d gotten married and her husband worked.
And although being moved to a school near where her husband worked seemed like something she would obtain without breaking a sweat, it would take her more than a year before she got someone to swap places with.
She would go through the same experience almost six years later while seeking to relocate from Murang’a to Thika where her husband had been transferred.
“I needed to be close to my family and unlike the first time when I sought transfer from my home district and had no children, this time round I had two children that were enrolled in school near where my husband works. They needed both of us,” she says.
Though she was eventually allowed to relocate, she acknowledges that getting a transfer is not easy as one has to get someone who teaches the same subjects to swap places with.
“Some even consider resigning after getting frustrated getting a transfer,” she says. But for most unemployed teachers, their concern is to first get a job and worry about transferring to a convenient place later.
Newly employed teachers have to work for a minimum of five year in at their first station before they can be allowed to relocate.
But teachers seem to have found a forum where they can seek colleagues with whom to switch working stations.
And the teachers are turning to TSC SWAP, a Facebook page, in their numbers to find colleagues whom they can switch work stations with.
Opened less than a year ago, the page has over 2,000 members from all over the country seeking to relocate to stations where their spouses work or near their homes.
The medium is a less cumbersome way of facilitating the relocations.
According to Thiong’o Waiganjo, taking the transfer issue online is a welcome initiative as teachers wishing to move can easily find colleagues who want to do the same.
“Previously, it has been common to find such notices at teachers’ Saccos, the DEO’s office and other such places where teachers frequent but obviously one cannot reach as many people as he or she would through the Facebook page,” he says.