Untidy teachers and those who lie to be punished, new TSC rules say

TSC Chairperson Lydia Nzomo. (Photo: Gideon Maundu/Standard)

Teachers who wear untidy clothes and walk around with unkempt hair will be punished. Those who lie to learners or their colleagues will also face consequences.

These are some of the new rules that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the teachers' employer, has rolled out to instill professionalism.

And in addition to these, the TSC also wants all teachers to uphold high level of honesty in evaluating children's performance.

The details are contained in the revised Code of Conduct and Ethics for teachers that also seeks to ensure none of the teachers shows any form of favouritism based on tribe, cronyism or religion.

However, it is Section 12 of the revised code that will get all the 290,000 teachers talking.

It requires that a teacher will, at all times, be of good conduct whether or not on official duty.

"And in particular, (a teacher) will maintain a neat and decent standard of dressing which befits the dignity and image of the teaching service," reads the new rules.

This means that teachers who report to duty in shabby clothes and untidy hair shall attract the wrath of the employer, because the TSC requires the schools heads to report any breach of the rules.

The employer wants all teachers to ensure that their appearances and personal hygiene is not offensive to workmates or learners.

Speaking yesterday, TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia said the new rules aim at restoring the dignity of the teaching profession.

"We must restore the respect and value of a teacher by enhancing professionalism," said Ms Macharia.

TSC Chairperson Lydia Nzomo said for a long time, teaching has been regarded as a mere trade and not a profession.

"The code will affect all registered teachers whether in private or public practice. The code is aimed at improving quality education and protecting the child," said Nzomo.

The revised code was handed over to secondary and primary school heads and all the 47 TSC county directors.

In addition to being smart, all teachers shall be expected to observe official working hours, be punctual and must meet deadlines.

"No teacher shall be absent from duty without proper authorisation or reasonable cause and they must develop and maintain relevant professional records to enhance efficient and competent performance of duty," reads the rule.

Teachers shall also be required to exercise diligence, care and attention and seek to achieve high standards of professionalism in the delivery of services.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) yesterday snubbed the launch of the two documents saying they had not been given ample time to peruse them.

"We cannot participate in a ceremony where we are not well prepared," said Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion who was present at the venue but did not attend the function. Knut steering committee members flanked Sossion.

The document also says a teacher must carry out his or her duties with honesty and impartiality and shall not allow family, social, political or other relationships to influence his or her conduct or judgment.

"A teacher will not use or lend the prestige of his or her office to advance his or her private interest or those of others and shall not knowingly convey or permit others to convey the impression that anyone is in a special position to influence him or her," reads the rule.

But in addition to these, the employer also wants strict adherence to work schedules by teachers.

Teachers who fail to perform their duties in an efficient and competent manner or fail to exercise diligence, care and attention shall be punished.

TSC also wants teachers to respect their colleagues at work.

Section 24 of the Code says a teacher will treat fellow employees and members of the public with dignity, courtesy and respect.

"They shall avoid behavior that is unbecoming, abusive, belittling or threatening to fellow employees or any member of the public," reads the document.

It also says that a teacher shall not bully or perpetrate offensive behaviour, which is vindictive, cruel, malicious or humiliating to a fellow employee or the public.

Teachers may, however, engage in teaching or learning activities outside normal school hours to promote education provided they do not conduct holiday tuition.