Politicians have no role in recruitment of new teachers

Kenya National Union of Teachers led by their Secretary General Collins Oyuu addresses the press in Kisumu on December 14, 2022. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) advertised 35,500 vacancies for teachers following to the president’s directive. The government plans to hire 116,000 teachers in phases to address teacher shortage in both primary and secondary schools. The new teachers will also help in the implementation of the competency-based curriculum (CBC).

Employment slots have been distributed as follows; 9,000 teachers will be employed on permanent and pensionable terms while 21,550 will be hired on internship basis in secondary schools. Another 1,000 teachers and 4,000 teachers will be recruited on permanent terms and internship respectively in primary schools.

The recruitment will be conducted from December 10, 2022 to February 9, 2023. Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) has clearly outlined how the applications will be submitted, the shortlisting exercise, awarding of marks to shortlisted candidates and feedback procedures to all levels and stages of the monitoring framework.

There are worrying reports that the exercise, which should be firmly controlled by the TSC, is likely to be interfered with by politicians. Political leaders have gone as far as writing letters warning that only those who belong to their constituencies will be considered for employment. Such a move would pose problems especially in the secondary schools where employment is done based on subject specialisation and prevailing needs.

Applicants are in shock and dismay, not knowing what to do following the threats and inciting information all over social and print media. The TSC Code Of Regulations asks teachers to accept, through signing, that they can be employed to teach in any part of the country.

This has been the custom since time in memorial. We, as teachers’ union, have been telling our teachers that the law allows them to apply for jobs anywhere within Kenya.

The law MUST not allow this kind of thinking and behaviour by leaders that could turn Kenyans against each other just for political expediency.

TSC must be allowed to carry out its duty as correctly spelt out in her service charter. Anything short of that shall be termed as breaking the law and incitement.

Since allegations of leaders inciting the public on this matter were made and their letter made public, security agencies are yet to give a statement on the same. Teachers expect to be given an assurance that they will be protected by both the law and their leaders. We are waiting.

A country with a clear constitution and well-structured laws like Kenya cannot and should never be subjected to emotional management of a sensitive sector such as education and more specifically employment of teachers which continues to be a uniting factor in our country. Kenya needs more unity talks than divisive attention-seeking leaders hell-bent on dividing citizens.

Knut condemns anybody, regardless of their status and standing in society and community, who intends to cause confusion in the education sector by using employment of teachers as an excuse.

On the number of teachers to be employed in primary and secondary schools, the public expected something different in terms of staffing.

The discussion on domiciling of grades 7, 8 and 9 has shifted the focus of placing junior secondary from secondary to primary schools.

It therefore was the expectation of the public that employment of teachers would have majorly been in primary schools. Perhaps from a layman’s understanding, it meant that there would be more work for teachers in the primary than in secondary schools.

The commission needs to tell the public what exactly is happening. Understanding the commitment by government to address teachers’ shortage, Knut appreciates the initiative of hiring interns to lessen teachers’ workload.

Kenyans also want to know what the commission intends to do with the many teachers who have qualifications to teach in secondary schools but are still teaching in primary schools. The teachers with these qualifications  have been looking forward to being considered for deployment to Junior Secondary Schools before new teachers are recruited.

This should also catch the ear of the employer so that the promoting and deploying of teachers at this level can solve the backlog of the over 90,000 teachers who submitted their credentials with higher qualifications, but are yet to get directions.

The Standard
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