Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia respond to queries when she appeared before the National Assembly Education Committee on the Budget Policy Statement 2023 at Ole Sereni hotel, Nairobi on February 28, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

We are in the midst of a busy period in the country's education calendar. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is undertaking a nationwide retooling exercise for teachers for the implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).

And in the midst of it, are the interviews for deployment of teachers to the Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) equally in high gear.

But it is the deployment exercise for the JSS that has not been short of controversy. Many teachers have raised complaints in regards to the qualification criteria used for the promotion.

A complaint that landed on my desk last week, for example, was in relation to the fact that some teachers with a mean grade of C+ and who also had attained a C+ in two teaching subjects were not being considered for deployment for one reason or another. As Kenya Women Teachers Association seeks for more clarity from TSC, we continue to call for an evaluation of the systems for promoting teachers.

Teachers play a vital role in shaping the future of a country by nurturing the young minds of the nation. However, teaching has often been considered a thankless job, with little appreciation and recognition for the hard work and dedication that goes into it.

One solution to this problem could be to implement automatic teacher promotion as a reward for excellence in teaching. Automatic teacher promotion would involve creating a system that promotes teachers based on their years of service and their performance evaluations in the classroom. This system would be designed to motivate and reward teachers for their hard work and dedication to their profession and eliminate the need for teachers to go through a cumbersome promotion process that can be biased, unfair and frustrating.

This could be done by setting specific criteria for what constitutes excellence in teaching, such as student achievement, feedback from colleagues and students, and professional development activities.

When a teacher meets these criteria, they would be automatically promoted to the next level in the teaching profession. This would give teachers a clear path for advancement and provide them with tangible rewards for their hard work and dedication. The teaching profession in Kenya has faced numerous challenges in recent years. These challenges have contributed to low morale among teachers and have made it difficult to attract and retain the best talent in the profession. In my view, automatic teacher promotion would be a way to address some of these challenges and provide incentives for teachers to stay in the profession.

Of course, there are challenges to implementing automatic teacher promotion. For example ensuring that the criteria for promotion is fair and objective. There would need to be a system in place to measure teacher performance accurately and to ensure that teachers are promoted based on merit, rather than favoritism.

This will ensure promotion is based on merit and that teachers are motivated to continue to improve their skills and performance.

Despite these challenges, the benefits of implementing automatic teacher promotion in Kenya are clear. By rewarding excellence in teaching, the education system would be able to attract and retain the best teachers, leading to better outcomes for students. It would also help to improve the status and reputation of the teaching profession, making it a more attractive career option for young people.

Above all, automatic teacher promotion would recognise the importance of experience in teaching. Experienced teachers have a wealth of knowledge and skills that can be passed on to their students. By promoting teachers based on their years of service, the system encourages teachers to stay in the profession and continue to develop their skills over time.

This can be a motivating factor for teachers, as they can see the rewards of their hard work and dedication. It can also help to retain teachers who may have otherwise left the profession due to a lack of opportunities for advancement.

Thirdly, it would improve the quality of education that students receive. Teachers who are motivated and committed to their work are more likely to be effective in the classroom. By rewarding excellence in teaching, the education system in Kenya would be able to attract and retain the best teachers, leading to better outcomes for students.

Automatic teacher promotion could be an effective way to reward excellence in teaching and improve the quality of education in Kenya. By setting clear criteria for promotion and ensuring that the system is fair and sustainable, Kenya could create a more motivated and effective teaching workforce, leading to better outcomes for students and a brighter future for the country.

The writer is the CEO of the Kenya Women Teachers Association