Kenyan teachers under pressure to sign contracts

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i
NAIROBI: Pressure is mounting on teachers in public schools to sign performance contracts as Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i seems to support the exercise.

While releasing the 2015 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results, Dr Matiang'i said promotions shall only be based on performance.

The statement comes days after the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) announced that starting this month, all the 298,000 teaching staff and 30,000 school heads shall be put on a performance-based appraisal programme as a gateway to higher pay and promotions.

TSC announced all primary and secondary school staff, as well as those working in tertiary institutions, must be appraised in January, a process that entails performance assessment and setting of annual targets.

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The teachers' employer said the exercise aims at improving quality education in schools, analysing teachers' performance gaps to provide necessary development support and to maintain cumulative records of teaching and learning for decision-making.

In the just released KCPE results, the performance of public schools dropped by seven points – from 187.58 in 2015 to 180.87 last year.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) top official Thursday declined to comment on the matter, saying a comprehensive statement would be issued during the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting next week.

"Those are huge policy issues and we shall deliberate on them as a team before making a statement," said Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion.

Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development tool for both teachers and heads seen by The Standard explains the evaluation procedure and how each staff shall conduct themselves during the exercise.

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The contracts shall be signed between January and December 31, 2016.

The appraisal tool shows that a teacher's ability to prepare schemes of work, lesson plans and lesson notes based on the curriculum shall be assessed under the professional knowledge.

The teachers ability to identify his/her performance gaps, detect training needs and seeking solutions through professional development courses shall also be evaluated.

Under the promotion of co-curriculum activities, the teacher shall be assessed on ability to organise and guide learners to organise or nurture unique talents and develop them to children's full potential.

On time management, the tool will assess the teachers ability to manage time through punctual and consistent class attendance, observing school time table and attendance of other school activities and staff meetings.

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Teachers will also be assessed on innovation and creativity in teaching. Here the tool shall asses their ability to improvise and use locally available resources for effective teaching and learning outcomes

And on learner protection, safety and discipline, the teacher's knowledge of sexual, mental/psychological and physical harassment shall be evaluated.

The document reveals that all heads of institutions shall be expected to submit an annual report to the TSC county directors by January 10 of every year.

And in the event of a disagreement between supervisor and the appraisee, a chance has been created for an arbiter.

Deputy head teacher shall appraise all primary school teachers and the school head teacher will confirm the appraisal report.

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The sub-county directors of education will appraise school heads and the county director shall confirm the appraisal report.

Fred Matiang'i