Teachers face mass transfers under new CBA

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Collins Oyuu (L) chats with KUPPET Secretary General Akello Misori during signing of the 2021 - 2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement with teachers unions and TSC. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

A nationwide mass transfer of teachers looms after unions secured a deal to reunite families that had been separated by delocalisation.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed between unions and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will reverse some of the transfers that separated families.

“In promoting family values, the commission agreed to consider requests for transfer of couples who are teachers, subject to availability of vacancies among other requirements,” reads the CBA in part.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Collins Oyuu said this is one of the major gains in the CBA that has been criticised for lacking a money component.

“Families have suffered in most of the transfer cases. These families that were moved apart due to the transfers will now be reunited once the TSC starts to implement the deal,” said Mr Oyuu. Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary-General Akelo Misori said reuniting families will be a major reprieve.

“Some of these teachers are nearing retirement. Bringing them close to each other will be a good move. Some are also having health issues and being close to family is a major win,” said Mr Misori.

Knut had opposed delocalisation policy that aimed at evenly distributing teachers countrywide through transfers.

The policy, according to the teachers’ employer, has been part of the government’s move to enhance national cohesion and bolster professionalism and commitment in the teaching profession.

Secondary school heads were the most affected by the exercise that began on January 1, 2018.

Appearing before the National Assembly Education Committee then, TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia told MPs that the transfers would be implemented gradually until all the objectives of the reforms were fully realised.

“The overall objective of this policy is to deter over-localisation of teaching profession so as to promote co-existence and cohesion among different communities,” Dr Macharia said.

Following an outcry from teachers affected, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Education to review the TSC policy on mass transfers.

“I am aware that delocalisation has created some unforeseen challenges that have affected some teachers,” said Uhuru.

But defending the transfers, Macharia said transfers and delocalisation were negotiated and signed by the two teachers’ unions and documented in the CBA.

The good news is that the 2017-2021 CBA has lapsed and will now be replaced by the 2021-2025 agreement.

There had been fresh fears on delocalisation among teachers after the exercise was captured in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report