TSC and teachers' unions must find common ground

TSC CEO Nancy Macharia chats with KNUT Secretary General Collins Oyuu and his KUPPET counterpart Akelo Misori during the release of 2021 KCPE results at the Mitihani house. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Plans by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to amend the TSC ACT of 2012 have elicited opposition from the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet).

TSC seeks more powers through the amendment of 11 sections of the Act. Both unions gave a stakeholders consultative meeting called by TSC recently a wide berth as a sign of protest to what they believe is their employer trying to ride roughshod over them. It doesn't sit well with teachers that TSC seeks to determine their remuneration and what punishment to give errant teachers without bringing them on board. 

Moreover, the unions are aggrieved that the proposals by TSC do not address the matter of promotions, pension and the safety of teachers. These are genuine concerns that cannot be swept under the carpet. Retired teachers face daunting tasks getting their pensions paid. In addition, recent cases in which teachers were roughed up by parents over poor examination results make a case for the concerns expressed by the unions. 

The unions believe TSC is simply after gaining more powers but cares less about teachers’ welfare. As the employer of teachers, TSC quest to amend sections of the TSC Act that are obsolete is justified.  However, that justification does not give it the right to ignore the contributions of teachers through their unions. After all, without teachers, there would be no need for TSC. 

The Constitution is very clear on the matter of public participation and the need for parties to sit down at a round table to iron out whatever differences might affect their work. 

At the end of the day, Knut, Kuppet and TSC are working towards a common goal–to improve the standard of education for the good of all. That is reason enough to stop the grandstanding being witnessed today. The perception among the unions that one is siding with TSC and the other with the Ministry of Education is not healthy. As provided for in the Constitution, both parties must come off their high horses and talk amicably