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Let State pay for annual teachers’ refresher course, legislators say

 

TSC CEO Nancy Macharia when she appeared before the National Assembly Education Committee on the Budget Policy Statement at Parliament last year [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

MPs have asked the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to prepare legal documents that will facilitate the government to pay annual refresher training fees for tutors.

Each of the 340,000 teachers are required to undertake mandatory professional courses that will inform their promotion and professional growth.

The refresher courses dubbed Teacher Professional Development (TPD) have been organised into chapters that will be taken every year at a cost of Sh6,000.

This means that in an entire teaching career, each teacher will be required to take five modules within 30 years, translating to fees of about Sh180,000.

National Assembly Education Committee members put TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia to task for not including the money as a budgetary requirement.

Macharia was also asked to explain how the training fees was arrived at, as MPs argued that even school fees and university fees are highly regulated. “We want to know why TSC has not factored in this money in its budget statement so that it can be an independent budget line funded by the government,” said Florence Mutua, chairperson of the committee. 

MPs asked Macharia to prepare and submit a legal framework that would enable government foot the training bills. She had appeared before MPs to defend TSC budget requirements.

Omboko Milemba, who is also Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) chairman said the money ought to be paid by the State through TSC.

“TSC should now go back to prepare a legal document that led to the TPD programme, explain how the training fees was arrived at and also make a requisition for that money,” said Milemba.

MPs argued that all levies are determined by Parliament and sought to know the formula used by TSC to cap the training fees. Macharia said the TPD is anchored in law under Section 35(2) (a) of the TSC Act.

The Act says the commission shall require every registered teacher to undertake career progression and professional development programmes as may be prescribed by regulations made under this Act.

Macharia said Regulation 49(1) says that every teacher who successfully completes a professional teacher development programme shall be issued with a teaching certificate by the commission.

And under Regulation 49 (3), a teacher who fails to go through the programme shall have the certificate of registration suspended until the teacher obtains the teaching certificate.

This means that all the teachers will be required to undertake the refresher courses to keep their jobs.

TSC, through a competitive process, picked Kenyatta University, Riara University, Mount Kenya University, and the Kenya Education Management Institute were picked by TSC to train the teachers. It also emerged that TSC got a major blow after MPs only allocated Sh2.5 billion to hire 5,000 teachers on permanent and pensionable terms.

This is against the 25,000 requested by TSC. The commission had also requested to recruit 12,000 interns but only 6,000 have been approved at a cost of Sh1.2 billion.

Meanwhile, Macharia said some Sh1.15 billion will be used to train teachers on Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).

The training will target teachers for languages in Grades 1, 2 and 3. It will also target training of secondary school heads of departments in CBC and school administrators in primary and secondary.

She said training of teachers for Grade 6 and 7 in readiness for 2023 when the first CBC cohort will transit to junior secondary will cost Sh2.52 billion. 

Another Sh342.4 million will be used to roll out a national biometric enrolment and validation of teachers. Implement Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development (TPAD) and Performance Contracting will cost Sh10 million, Macharia said. The good news for teachers, however, is the move by MPs to push for payment of the tuition fees.

Kuppet and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) have argued that even though continuous trainings sharpens skills, the cost should be carried by the employer.

“We are keen on ensuring that the employer foots the bills for trainings either fully or cost are shares with the teachers. This is because these skills are designed to benefit the employer as much as they will benefit the employee,” said Knut boss Collins Oyuu.

The TPD programme will be carried out during the April, August and December school holidays.

The courses, which shall be a modular-based training, will adopt online and in-person approach.

According to the plan, the introductory module shall be done online. The first module will introduce teachers to TPD and the Kenya Professional Teaching Standards.

The introductory module has five chapters which are expected to be completed within one year.