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Secret catch for teachers in salary deal

By Augustine Oduor | October 27th 2016

Teachers Service Commission Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia and Kuppet Secretary General Akelo Misori exchange Collective Bargaining Agreement documents. [Photo: Antony Gitonga/Standard]

Teachers clinched a lucrative salary deal but hidden within the sweet pie is a catch that will please their employer regarding its push for performance and productivity measurement that they had resisted.

The four-year Sh54 billion deal signed with unions on Tuesday improved salaries of head teachers but at the same time opened up the filling of the positions in a competitive process.

In addition the entry grade to the teaching profession will be raised above the current Grade C.

Persons teaching in primary schools will all be required to be degree holders with tutors having higher qualifications even being deployed to teach at lower levels.

Currently, teachers with higher qualifications opt to teach in higher classes of the education system.

And all teachers in public schools will be subjected to mandatory performance contacting and appraisal tools to raise quality of education.

These are the implications of the just signed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the Government and unions that will see teachers at the higher grade take home up to Sh265,090 per month.

Salary budget

The new deal comes at a cost of about 40 per cent of Teachers Service Commission's (TSC) salary budget, which stands at about Sh130 billion, The Standard established.

Finer details of the deal shows that as teachers move up the grades starting next year, they would also automatically fit in the respective allowances pegged per category.

For instance, the lowest paid head teacher – a certificate holder – of job Group B5 with a salary of Sh21,756 would cumulatively take home a consolidated amount of Sh45,795. This will include leave allowance, house allowance and hardship allowance.

A teacher with diploma qualification who falls under Job Group C1 and earning Sh27,195 will take a home Sh58,362 per month.

A newly recruited graduate teacher under Job Group C2 and earning Sh34,955 will now take home a total of Sh77,761.

The highest paid teacher under job group D5 with a salary of Sh131,380 will now take home a total of Sh265,090 in addition to all the allowances.

The agreement shall remain in force for a period of four years with effect from July 1, 2017, running to June 30, 2021.

Greatest beneficiaries

Primary teachers are, however, the greatest beneficiaries with most of them likely to get a pay rise of up to 300 per cent.

Some of the secondary school principals­ – who were already in higher job groups – may have a salary raise less than 100 per cent. For instance, a principal who earned Sh131,380 will now take home a basic salary of Sh144,928. The pay may however go to the higher bracket of Sh157,656.

No head teacher – whether primary or secondary– will fall below Job Group C5.

Deputies of primary schools will now move to Job Group C4 and C5 (for senior boarding schools). Senior teachers who were previously in Job Group G (B5) will now rise to C3.

"This will make headship very competitive because the jobs have been evaluated. TSC will come up with guidelines to make it very competitive to be a head teacher," explained Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion.

He said the deal marks a complete shift in teaching service with sole aim of restoring dignity in the profession.

"What this means is that the myths of secondary school teachers earning more and primary school teacher earning less will be long gone. The other issue of head teachers earning more compared to ordinary teachers will also be a thing of the past. The trade will recruit persons of higher qualifications because the pay will be attractive," said Sossion.

However, teachers not under any union will have to part with agency fees of about two per cent of their basic pay so as to enjoy the benefit of the CBA. The money will be shared between the two unions.

TSC committed to implement the agreement upon registration in court. It also committed itself to "expeditious implementation" of joint settlements, agreements and decision, and to avoid engaging in activities or programmes contrary to the agreement.

On its part, Knut committed to discourage any breach of peace or civil unrest by union members that may disrupt learning and erode dignity of the profession.

Under the new deal, however, primary and nursery teachers may earn more than secondary teachers under the evaluated jobs by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

Finer details show that all teachers trained and teaching in special needs schools have been elevated and put on same salary scale as heads.

"You don't need to question the work of a head teacher regardless of the location of institution. You do not need to question the job of a special needs education teacher, it is known," explained Sossion.

He explained that if SRC evaluates the job of the teacher in special needs school to include cleaning the child, carrying them around and using specialised tools to educate the teacher, they will earn a salary commensurate with what they do.

Further details show that school administrators – heads, deputies and senior teachers– and teachers in special schools will have higher pay because two allowances they were previously entitled to (special schools education and responsibility) have been collapsed and consolidated with their salaries.

Freshly trained teachers for special education will enter service in job groups in upper Cs category, which means they earn a basic salary of not less than Sh77,840.

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