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Newly recruited teachers to report for duty in a week

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chairman Lydia Nzomo (left) with Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia at a press conference at the TSC head office in Nairobi

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) insists that the newly recruited teachers will report to work in a week's time as it grapples with the month-long teacher's strike.

In a letter dated October 1, TSC Secretary and CEO Nancy Njeri Macharia gave direction to Education Permanent Secretary Kipsang Belio on how the commission will address the nagging teacher absence from schools.

“In order to normalise the staffing of schools in the country, the commission has advertised 70,000 positions for relief teachers to serve on a three-month contract from October 12, 2015. Fifty thousand of these will be assigned to primary schools while the remaining 20,000 will be posted to secondary schools,” reads the letter.

“In addition, there are 42,973 teachers who have been performing teaching and administrative duties since August 31, 2015 when teachers went on strike. Further, 12,868 newly recruited teachers reported for duty from September 1,” it continues.

Since the contracts for these new teachers run for three months, the duration of an entire school term, it remains to be seen what will happen to the new recruits if the deadlock between the unions and the executive is broken.

The letter to the Education PS further gives a deadline to the recruitment.

“It Is expected that the recruitment process for the contract teachers will have been concluded by October 9. This will bring the number of available teachers to 124,841. You may therefore take into account the foregoing while planning for primary and secondary schools programmes,” reads the communication.

If the TSC gets its way, a semblance of learning in schools will resume on Monday October 12.

The commission has also laid out, in another memo to all TSC county directors, the hiring procedure for the new relief staff it hopes to take on board.

The five point memo orders the directors to receive all applications from prospective applicants for both primary and secondary schools and submit the list of all employed teachers and copies of employment letters by October 9.

Recruitment guidelines sent to county directors and seen by The Standard on Saturday shows that secondary teachers will be paid Sh30,000 while their primary counterparts will take home Sh20,000 a month.

The money shall be ‘all inclusive’, meaning the teachers will not qualify for any allowances.

“Subject to your acceptance of the terms of this letter, you are hereby appointed on a three months contract in the service of the Teachers Service Commission. You should report to the head of institution for assignment of duties...” reads the contract paper to be signed by all successful candidates.

The Standard on Saturday has established that successful candidates will be asked to report to schools as soon as they sign the contract letters.

“Submit the list of all employed teachers and copies of employment letter to the commission latest by Friday October 9,” reads the internal memo signed by Mary Rotich, acting director of teacher management.

School heads have been asked to cooperate in the exercise even as unions instructed their members to keep off the recruitment.

“You are advised to ensure that the principals of secondary schools and head teachers of primary schools submit appointment returns immediately each teacher reports to the TSC county directors office,” reads the circular.

The directors have been instructed to use the set recruitment guidelines and to create a merit list as applicants come.

“Vet applicants as they are being received and create merit list using 2015/16 recruitment guidelines per county allocations. Use all available field officers,” reads the memo.

All the appointment returns must be submitted to TSC head office and an attention drawn to Senior Deputy Director (Record Management).

To qualify as a relief teacher, one should have attained a mean grade C+ and a similar grade in each of the two teaching subjects.

However, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) officials yesterday rubbished the latest move by TSC and vowed to scuttle the process.

“We shall not allow them to hire the teachers. And if they recruit them, it must be on permanent and pensionable terms then they join us in the strike for better pay,” said Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion.

Kenya’s teacher deficit currently stands at 80,000.

Kuppet Secretary General Akelo Misori yesterday faulted the government’s problem solving skills and questions why the money sought cannot be used to pay the existing staff.

“Are they employing slaves? Even those they purpose to hire will at some point demand better pay,” said Misori.

But Macharia said the contract teachers shall be absorbed on priority basis.

“The teachers will be hired on a three month contract and will thereafter be considered on priority basis for employment on permanent terms when vacancies arise,” said Macharia.

The TSC document says candidates seeking to apply for primary school slots must be P1 holders while the minimum academic qualification for secondary school teachers is a diploma certificate.

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