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Shock of 124,105 teachers stuck in same job group for five years

 A teacher working at a government school gives an online class inside an empty class room during the Covid-19. [AP Photos]

Some 124,105 teachers have stayed in one job group for at least five years without promotion, a new report shows.

An audit report by Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) shows the government now requires Sh20 billion to promote all these teachers this financial year.

"The estimated budget for teachers who have stagnated in their positions for more than five years alone is Sh10.25 billion," reads a report by Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet).

The report, however, finds that there are many more teachers due for promotion as per the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Regulations, which raises the budget to Sh20 billion.

Kuppet Secretary General Akello Misori said the average time it takes for a teacher to progress to a higher grade is nine years, regardless of the academic qualifications. However, according to Kuppet, among the stagnated teachers, 46,550 have served in one job group for more than five years. Another 77,645 teachers, according to the report, have remained in one job groups for less than five years.

The details of the report were tabled when members of National Assembly Education Committee met the Kuppet and Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) officials in Nairobi. "The research was triggered by members' concern at the high number of teachers serving endlessly in acting positions when vacancies exist requiring their substantive appointment to the positions," said Misori.

Knut Secretary General Collins Oyuu told MPs that only the teachers in administration were promoted while the rest of teachers remained.

"TSC has also not considered teachers who have upgraded their academic qualifications," said Oyuu. House Education Committee chairperson Julius Melly said they will push for action.

"Give us six months and we will bring change in the education sector. We also plead that you put your differences aside and work for common good for all teachers," said Melly. The Kuppet report, however, says the systemic stagnation in the service has negatively impacted on teachers in many ways, includin loss of income for work done.

Misori said the stagnation has led to supersession of seniority, where some teachers now work at the same level or even below students they taught.

"In the specific case of teachers at C3, some of them had stagnated in Job Group L for more than five years. Added to the six years under CPGs, they have now stagnated for more than 11 years," said Misori.

Report also says that lack of promotions has led to loss of service benefits, including medical insurance and pensions which are based on pay grades.

Acting positions

"Such unjustified suffering has affected the morale and productivity of many teachers. Some have left the service in frustration for self-employment or other organisations," reads report.

Finer details of the report also shows that another 6,031 school administrators have been holding the positions in acting positions, denying them perks and benefits attached to the offices they hold.

It also emerged that leadership positions in Kenyan schools are not adequately filled up, leaving a gap of 26,302.

The report says that by February 2023, there were about 31,847 administrators in Kenyan public schools against the required 57,000.

Kuppet report says that under the Guidelines on Appointment and Deployment of Institutional Administrators 2017/2020, each doubled-streamed institution must have, on the minimum, five administrators.

These are a principal, a deputy principal and three Senior Masters heading departments. "This means that the 11,000 secondary schools and TTCs in Kenya must have a minimum of 57,257 administrators in these three positions," reads the report.

And now, KUPPET wants MPs to direct the Teachers Service Commission, the National Treasury, the Ministry of Education and all relevant government agencies to take coordinated action to address the issues contained in the report.

The shocking findings of the report however, is the huge number of teachers who have not been promoted for many years.

Speaking to MPs, Misori and union national chairman Omboko Milemba traced the genesis of stagnation to2016 when teachers employer adopted Career Progression Guidelines (CPGs) and discarded the three schemes of service.

Misori said that the conversion from the schemes of service to CPGs was informed by the teachers' Job Groups, responsibilities and the category of institution where they served.

During the conversations, Misori said that teachers previously in Job Groups J and K were converted to C2 while those in L went to C3.

"However, those in L but had responsibility were converted to C5, together with those in M and N, who had no responsibility in the schools," said Misori.

He also said teachers who were serving as deputy principals were deployed at D1 and D2, depending on the category of their institution. Heads who were in M, N and P were converted to grades D3 and D4 and substantially appointed as principals. Misori said the heads who were in job group Q and R were deployed to D5 as chief principals.

Misori told MPs that teachers similar Job Groups but were not heads were arbitrarily deployed as Deputy Principals under D1 and D2.

He argued that many teachers found themselves trapped in the same salary scales with others who had been in lower job groups than them.

"In addition, they lost their cumulative years of service which would start to count under the new system," Misori said.

Milemba also said compounding the problem of stagnation is the high number of school administrators in acting positions, which he said, denies them perks and benefits attached to the offices they hold.

Kuppet has proposed that the commission should appoint teachers in acting capacities for a period not longer than six months and pay them acting allowance.

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