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TSC, Kuppet lock horns over intern teachers



 Teachers and stakeholders follow proceedings during the 5th World Teachers' Day at the Kenya School for Government. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has locked horns with the teacher’s employer over terms of tutors serving on contract.

The union has faulted recent remarks by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that the teachers presently on contract will serve for another one year before their terms of service are reviewed.

TSC told MPs last week intern teachers will have to wait for another one year before the government confirms them to permanent and pensionable.

TSC Director of Teachers Staffing Antonina Lentoijoni said that the 46,000 teachers will have their terms of employment automatically changed to permanent and pensionable (PNP) after two years of service.

"There are two sets of interns. There are those who started on February 1, and those who began working on September 1. The ones we are talking about sending letters of extension of contract for another one year in December are for those in February," Lentoijoni said.

She spoke when TSC officials appeared before the National Assembly Education Committee chaired by Tinderet MP Julius Melly.

However, Kuppet yesterday said the TSC must honour its earlier commitment and absorb the teachers to permanent and pensionable immediately their first year term ends.

Kuppet Secretary General Akelo Misori said the proposal on teachers currently serving on internship contracts in primary and Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) will demoralise them.

"Whereas the teachers employment contract clearly stipulates that they were to serve as interns for only one year, the TSC has not taken the necessary steps to employ them on a permanent basis from January 2024 when their current contract expires," Misori said.

He argued that teachers have exhibited their patriotism to the nation by going out of their way to offer services to learners despite the hard-working environment.

"Service on internship is nothing short of a patriotic act. These teachers who have persevered the challenges of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) transition and learnt valuable lessons from the process should be immediately confirmed to permanent and pensionable so that they can help stabilize their institutions in the new year as JSS gets to the second year of Grade Eight," Misori said.

The union observed that even with the meagre salary they get, the teachers are subjected to taxes and statutory deductions like their counterparts in the service.

"The teachers have persevered in an extremely demoralizing condition of service. They are paid just half of their deserved salary. They enjoy medical insurance and do not contribute to the same pension scheme for teachers. Ironically, they are taxed at the same level as other teachers of their grade, including mandatory housing levy and NSSF contribution," Kuppet Secretary-General said.

Misori noted that the situation is even worse for JSS teachers who have been placed to work under primary school heads.

"In some schools, the JSS teachers have been forced to purchase their own teaching aid including textbooks, pens, writing pads, and chalks since primary schools where they work do not provide these basic necessities in the required quantities," he said.

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