Teachers and lectures may not get a salary increase if Members of Parliament fail to fix the monetary gaps threatening to lock them out of the 2017/18 budget.
The Standard on Saturday has established that money to increase salaries for the 300,000 teachers and about 30,000 lecturers has not been factored in the budget.
Documents tabled in Parliament and seen by The Standard on Saturday show there is no provision for the Sh13.7 billion expected to implement the new salary deal for teachers in July.
This puts to question the fate of the Sh54 billion Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the Teachers Service Commission and unions last year.
“The Commission signed a CBA with teachers’ unions to be implemented from July 1, however there is no provision in these estimates for the same,” reads the brief by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to Members of Parliament.
TSC signed the salary deal with Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) on October 25 and 26 last year, respectively.
Under the pay agreement – already deposited with the Employment and Labour Relations Court – the salary for the highest paid teacher is capped at Sh157,656.
The highest paid teacher currently earns Sh109,089 with an upper bracket of Sh144,928 per month. If implemented, the lowest paid primary teacher would earn Sh27,195 up from 21,756, while the lowest paid secondary teacher would take home up to Sh34,955.
The documents show the Commission has been allocated Sh200.2 billion, up from Sh192.6 billion this financial year.
The TSC document tabled before the National Assembly Education Committee however seems to suggest the money would be available even if not allocated by the Treasury.
“These funds may however be provided under a separate arrangement,” reads the document. It was not immediately clear under which arrangement the money would be provided.
Multiple sources at the TSC yesterday downplayed the budgetary oversight and explained that there is no cause for alarm. “The money will be available,” said a well-informed source.
If not allocated, the omission would be a major blow to teachers.
Previous statement by TSC showed that the employer had started working out payment modalities for the CBA.
Talks are not conclusive
The lecturers’ salary increment however seemed to get even more unlikely as the Ministry of Education report tabled in Parliament firmly said the talks are not conclusive.
“Full implementation of universities CBA for 2013/2017 has not been concluded and is therefore a pending issue,” reads the document.
This means if negotiations between the universities management and the lecturers’ unions fail to end in time, the money to settle the pay dispute will not be included in the budget, signaling a prolonged crisis in the sector.
The lecturers are demanding an additional Sh7 billion to the Sh10 billion government offered them to call off the strike last month. They are also demanding a 20 per cent increase on house allowance. Universities have rejected any further increment and talks seem to have collapsed.
Education Cabinet Fred Matiang’i has distanced himself from the negotiations, saying the existing laws bar him.
“As you are aware the process of negotiating the CBA flows from the Constitution of Kenya, labour laws and employee/employer contractual arrangements,” said Dr Matiang’i. Last week the lecturers turned down appeals by Parliament’s Education Committee to call off the strike.
The Ministry of Education’s report, titled ‘brief on estimates of revenue and expenditure for financial year 2017/2018’, also highlights salient issues including limited funding of the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb). “Allocation for Helb loans to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) trainees for the financial year 2017/2018 is inadequate.”
The TSC further asks for an additional Sh5 billion to recruit 20,000 teachers.
Only Sh2.5billion has been factored in the budget towards hiring of 5,000 teachers.
In its 2015-2019 Strategic Plan strategic Plan, TSC says that the rising number of children under the free education programme and the increasing number of new schools pose huge staffing challenges.
By the end of 2016, the teacher deficit was 92,000 and TSC predicts this to rise to 95,352 by the end of the year. It projects that by 2019, the teacher gap would have risen to 116,513.
Last year, TSC recruited more than 7,000 trained teachers for primary and secondary schools. Of these, 5,000 were new employees under the Sh2.3 billion budget.
The remaining 2,157 teachers were hired to replace those who exited the profession.
The document tabled in Parliament further notes a financing gap of Sh500 million for Digital Literacy Programme.
“The commission is responsible for capacity building component under the DLP but funds continue to be allocated to the Ministry of ICT,” reads the document.
The teachers’ employer also wants another Sh500 million to cater for Teachers Professional Development. “The commission has rolled out teacher professional development modules and requires funding to subsidize the cost of these modules for teachers,” reads the document.
TSC wants Sh200 million more for quality assurance and standards. “Funds required to deepening of performance contract and performance appraisals for teachers.” Only Sh32 million has been allocated towards this vote.
The Commission has however been allocated Sh255 million for automation and modernization of TSC operations and Sh29 million for professionalising the teaching service.