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Battle looms as TSC says only 6000 are due for promotion, KNUT insists 53,000

Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion. [PHOTO: FILE]

By AUGUSTINE ODUOR

NAIROBI, KENYA: The teachers’ employer Tuesday set the stage for a fight with Knut when it disputed the union’s figure of 53,000 un-promoted teachers.

Instead, the Teachers Service Commission said there were only 6,000 teachers yet to be elevated by the end of last year, for which it required Sh1.03 billion.

Commission Secretary Gabriel Lengoiboni said by last month, the TSC had promoted 20,225 teachers who had attained higher qualifications from July 2011.

He said promotion of teachers was dependent on the authorised establishment and that by last November 30, the establishment for Job Groups J, K and L had been filled up.

“The establishment for the year 2013/2014 is fully filled up and therefore cannot accommodate further promotions for Job Groups J, K and L,” said Lengoiboni.

But contacted by The Standard, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) dismissed the revised figure and maintained that 53,000 teachers had not been promoted.

Demanding their urgent recognition, Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion demanded foolproof evidence. “Our figure (53,000) comes from the field,” he said.

“Unless TSC proves otherwise, our figure still stands. We are also aware that some teachers received promotion letters before Christmas. But we shall get those facts during our meeting (Wednesday),” said Sossion.

On Monday, the union deferred its intention to call a nationwide strike to protest against what it said was non-promotion of teachers, after TSC invited them for today’s talks.

On Tuesday, Sossion said the truth would be known at today’s meeting, even if it meant “asking individual teachers to submit their documents for reconciliation.”

“But again, even if there are only 50 teachers, why haven’t they been promoted? The fundamental issue is that some teachers have not been promoted and we want them recognised,” said Sossion.

Lengoiboni said according to TSC records, only 6,675 teachers have not been promoted as per their documents, after the commission failed to get adequate funds.

“Out of the Sh3.5 billion budgetary vote we had requested for promotions in 2013/2014 financial year, only Sh600 million was allocated,” said Lengoiboni.

“This money was also supposed to cater for promotion of teachers who attained higher qualifications and incremental credits as well,” he said.

Lengoiboni said of those promoted, 7,807 were graduate teachers under Job Group K and another 12,418 under Job Group J.

pending cases

He said some 3,519 P1 teachers of Job Group J (diploma holders) were top of the pending cases’ list.

“We also have another 504 Approved Teachers IV of Job Group J and 1,730 P1 teachers of Job Group K (graduate) who also need to be promoted,” he said.

Lengoiboni said some 833 Approved Teachers Status (ATS) IV of Job Group K (graduate) and 89 ATS III of Job Group K (graduate) also needed to be promoted.

“These are the only cases we know, and we need an additional Sh86 million monthly to cater for the promotions,” he said, adding: “This translates to some Sh1.03 billion per year. The rest of the teachers have been promoted.”

Lengoiboni also blamed teachers for not alerting the commission whenever they enrolled for degree courses. “They do not tell us that they are taking these courses. When they do not tell us in advance, we cannot plan for them,” he said.

“We are streamlining these promotions. We are developing new policies in line with the TSC Act, and we are putting a lot of emphasis on teacher development courses,” he said.

He said the modules being developed have a bias on curriculum delivery, administration and institutional management as envisaged in the TSC Act.

The details emerged ahead of a high level meeting between Knut and TSC in Nairobi today.

“We shall meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to listen to each other and also agree on some of these issues,” said Lengoiboni. Knut said the strike notice would be issued in two weeks should talks collapse.

Commenting on the matter, Deputy President William Ruto said the Jubilee government was more than ready to enter into dialogue with the Knut over pertinent issues affecting them.

“I want to assure the teaching fraternity that the Jubilee government believes in holding consultation dialogue to solve the issues that are between us. We are more than ready to engage the teaching fraternity on the issue of teachers’ promotion and we want an amicable solution to the issue,” Ruto said.