Education reforms team holds validation meeting

"The party has been working since its inception to achieve its Terms of Reference as stipulated in the Gazette Notice. In this regard, an open forum has been organized to present the draft report to stakeholders for validation," reads the invite by Prof Raphael Munavu.

The invite dated May 30 further said: "This is to invite you to participate in a validation exercise scheduled to take place on June 6, 2023 from 2.00pm to 4.00pm at the CEMASTEA)."

The media was not able to establish the stakeholders who attended the meeting to validate the critical findings that would change the education sector for decades.

Confidential source in the meeting however disclosed that there were MPs, teachers' unions and associations, religious leaders, senior ministry officials among others.

Finer details however reveal that the team, in its interim report recommended trimming of powers of the teachers' employer, harmonising quality assurance and reducing subjects for Junior Secondary learners.

Creation of TVET Commission that would be responsible for all human resource functions for staff in middle-level colleges was also proposed in addition to reviewing of capitation disbursement plan.

Team also wants TSC to employ nursery teachers, a function presently performed by county governments.

It however emerged that the stakeholders were not handed the interim report and only benefited from presentations made in a rush.

The key proposals however show that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) may lose some powers if the recommendations of the education reforms committee are adopted in their final report.

TSC is created under Article 237 (1) of the constitution commission with its core function being to recruit, register, employ, deploy, transfer, discipline and terminate teachers' contracts.

The task force however wants a separate body created and bestowed with the functions of regulation of the teaching profession.

This means that TSC would only perform human resource functions and would relinquish regulatory powers to a separate entity.

Meeting heard that an amendment through the act of Parliament or referendum would be required to effect the changes to TSC powers.

The Standard has also established that the Quality Assurance and Standards (QAS) functions presently being performed by TSC would be harmonised and centralised.

Ministry of Education also performs similar functions and to avoid duplication, task force members heard that TSC may also lose this mandate in new reforms.

TSC and the Ministry of Education have been at loggerheads over these functions as each issued different directives at County levels.

The task force now wants the government to ensure QAS is domiciled at the ministry and has exclusive authority to oversee the functions in all basic education institutions.

"Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards should be conferred with operational powers in law to enable it enforce laws, policies, guidelines of the ministry and any other Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) that pertain to basic education institutions," the meeting heard.

The meeting also heard of proposals to review of the National Education Quality Assurance and Standards Framework (NEQASF), to consolidate and publish widely prescribed education standards for easy access by all stakeholders.

Sources in the meeting disclosed that a move to lower entry grade to teachers training colleges was also discussed and moving forward, some reforms proposed to streamline training.