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Plans now complete for fresh listing of teachers

By Augustine Oduor | February 24th 2021
KNUT secretary general Wilson Sossion at his office in Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

Plans to roll out fresh registration of the 350,000 teachers are complete in a move by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to regularise staff data.

All teachers under the TSC payroll will undergo fresh listing from the school level to verify their distribution, utilisation and teaching specialisation in all public institutions.

It emerged that teachers’ data are presently contained in various commission entries such as Teachers Management Information System (TIMIS) and Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development (TPAD) records, and must be matched.

Each teacher will produce their national identity card or birth certificate and any other relevant identification documents such as employment or designation letters.

However, for the registration process, fingerprints will be used to capture teachers’ details.

Sources at the TSC said special arrangements have been made to capture data of teachers with special cases, whose fingerprints may not be applicable.

Update information

The registration is scheduled to start in April when schools reopen for Third Term under the banner of Teachers Biometric Data Harminisation.

“The biometric registration shall entail validation of data of teachers in all public primary and secondary schools, Teacher Training Colleges, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) and Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE),” reads the concept brief.

Data for teachers in special programmes as well as for curriculum support officers in all zones will also be captured.

The document shows that the exercise will help TSC update the existing information on teachers’ bio data and  validate the staff requirement in all public schools and teacher training colleges by size and learner enrolment.

“The exercise will also reveal teacher distribution based on subject combinations and will unearth staffing gaps that will inform training needs for various subject areas,” reads the brief.

The process, which was scheduled for piloting in May last year, was shelved due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Seven counties have now been identified for the pilot, which starts on April 22 with the national rollout tentatively scheduled for August/September.

The counties are Uasin Gishu, Homa Bay, Bungoma, Nyeri, Kilifi, Kitui and Garissa.

The counties were selected because they present both rural and urban setups, which will give reliable lessons for the national rollout.

A total of 143 institutions will be selected from the seven counties on pro-rata basis for the pilot registration. The institutions will include primary, secondary and teachers training colleges.

The piloting schools will be selected to represent different geographical and socio-cultural backgrounds.

The implication of the exercise is that the data captured will expose how teachers are spread across the country, a development that will inform rationalisation of the staff.

“We shall ensure optimal utilisation of teachers and also balance areas that we shall feel are not well covered,” TSC Director of Administrative Services Ibrahim Mumin said during last year’s stakeholders meeting.

This means some teachers will be transferred for balanced staffing as electronic registration will expose imbalance in deployment.

The exercise will also nab teachers who miss classes for unapproved reasons, as the commission rolls out a drive to hold its staff accountable through the biometric tool that will give up-to-date attendance data.

During the stakeholders' meeting, it emerged that TSC plans to get real time clock-in data of teachers who attend classes, and absentee ones tracked and monitored through electronic devices that will be installed in schools.

Unmask ghost staff

The commission will also have data for all ageing staff, which shall help in effective planning for their exit.

This also means teachers who faked their retirement age or those who may want to stay longer will be exposed.

Training of the committees, coordinators, supervisors and enumerators on the biometric registration exercise had been done in April last year.

The configuration of the tool kits for the exercise has also been completed and registration user-training manual produced.

A stakeholders’ conference for public participation was also conducted in March last year and attended by teachers' unions and associations, religious organisations, development partners, officials of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and persons with disabilities.

The Council of Governors, National Treasury and Public Service Commission officials also attended the meeting.

“We support this exercise fully and want it concluded well because it shall help TSC to plan better,” Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion said at the workshop held at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD). 

The final meeting for the regional stakeholders will take place next month ahead of the piloting.

Biometric listing

It is worth noting that the registration will unmask ghost staff who may have over the years drawn salaries from the Commission’s payroll.

The findings of the exercise will put to rest a long standing claim that thousands of teachers have irregularly withdrawn salaries from the TSC's payroll over the years.

A report generated by the Efficiency Monitoring Unit in 2009 found a conflicting number of teachers in documents submitted by the TSC.

Analysis of  documents submitted to the unit showed that more than 20,000 teachers could not be accounted for.

At the time, TSC had 227,581 teachers in its November payroll against 207,554 submitted by provincial heads.

The unit was to conduct a survey of declining compliance to declaration of wealth by public officers.

The closest TSC came to smoking out ghost teachers was in 2015 when the employer contracted an insurance broker to administer a medical scheme.

The firm rolled out a biometric listing where teachers’ input their TSC number, national identity card number and mobile phone number.

The plan was to cross-check the data against what was with the TSC, Communications Authority of Kenya and National Registrar of Persons databases to enable three-way matching.

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