Why TSC's list of promoted teachers should be audited

Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) made a formal request to have guidelines for the interviews administered to teachers in December 2023 and January 2024 made public.

This was done late in the day through social media platforms. Teachers kept asking for interpretation of the same so that they could understand what was expected of them.

The list of successful candidates was initially released through advert No. 31/2023 – 40/2023, which was strange to the teachers and we asked the TSC to give clear communication on the right results. Later the commission released another list denouncing the first one as fake and non-authentic.

Surprisingly, some TSC numbers that appeared in the fake Advert 31/2023 – 40/2023 have appeared in the authentic advertisements (46/2023 to 61/2023). The commission was, however, quick to blame bloggers for releasing fake results.

Knut feels the teachers' employer is not giving full details about the promoted teachers The union is questioning why the commission is unwilling to provide real names against the TSC numbers published for audit purposes.

The union feels that without the real names of successful candidates against their TSC numbers, even dead teachers could make it to the merit list. There is hue and cry over why the employer doesn’t want, or is unwilling to publish the names of successful candidates for audit purposes. The lists have also shown very old TSC numbers and some extremely recent, leading to suspicion.

There is need to also have the lists of successful candidates and grades of promotion published. This will help teachers to know that through all grades, fairness was done.

For instance, if the interviews were to cater for various grades, it would make teachers who are desirous to get promoted to know that even though they were unsuccessful this year, they still have a chance in subsequent interviews.

Lumping all these names/TSC numbers together into 36,505 names and saying these are the successful candidates for promotion from advert 46/2023 to 61/2023 is highly suspect. Publishing TSC numbers without indicating how many teachers were promoted in every grade and region is also questionable.

Our quick survey indicated that we have qualified teachers who have served in the same grades for a long; some of them for over 14 years, but were not promoted even after attending these interviews. Yet others who appear not to be qualified, have served for the shortest period of time and have been promoted.

This calls for a forensic audit into the entire process. That is why we want to know on what criteria was used by the employer in this exercise. One would therefore wonder whether transparency and fairness, which is the shield of the voiceless and the down-trodden, was invoked in these interviews.

The TSC score sheet for awarding marks in both primary and secondary schools had marks for teachers in acting capacity, teachers' length of stay in the current grade, teachers' TPAD ratings, teachers' age, and their co-curricular engagement from 2020, teachers' KCSE and KCPE analysis and individual teacher’s communication skills.

This therefore means that a teacher who has stagnated in the same job group for many years would not be left out while new graduates get promoted since the marks in the promotional guidelines were well spread.

Teachers, for instance, who have stayed in the job group C1 from 2017 had hopes of being promoted but instead, others who got into group C1 in 2023, according to the survey, have gone ahead to be promoted to C2, leaving this group of teachers behind. Out of frustration, some of the teachers want to for early retirement instead of being subjected to this kind of embarrassment. Most teachers who had expected that the interviews would favour them due to the guidelines but were unsuccessful are utterly demoralised.

We also came across an acting deputy principal of six years, he has also been a senior examiner at Knec and even taken students up to the regional level in Kenya Secondary Schools Music Festival, has good rating in TPAD and has attended three consecutive interviews since 2021 without any success.

The commission had assured teachers with Master’s degrees, those with co-curricular activities with results, those with letters of responsibilities and diplomas in education management that would have a good chance during these promotions but this was never to be.

In future, promotions should be made very clear, understandable and interpretable so that if the guidelines are given, they are followed to the letter. And when results are given, everyone, even those who are not successful, can trust the process and wait for their time. When stakeholders have fought so hard to ensure a budgetary allocation has been given to the employer for the purpose of promotions, what is expected is fairness in the process.