For all its groundbreaking education reform proposals especially with regard to the Competency-Based Curriculum, the task force made one grievous mistake on which it based some spurious recommendation.
It has proposed that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) be stripped of its quality assurance role in schools and handing it back to the parent ministry.
The report said the role of school inspection was previously handled by Jogoo House long before the TSC became a constitutional commission and that the two organs had always been fighting a silent battle over this mandate.
The report, which was handed over to President William Ruto on Tuesday by chairman of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms Raphael Munavu, indicated that many stakeholders had pointed out that this perceived duplication of roles jeorpadised efficiency in supervision.
“Majority of stakeholders pointed that teachers were inadequately trained on CBC; infrastructure and learning resources were inadequate; parallel roles and structures by the TSC and MoE jeopardised quality assurance,” said the report.
To address this so called overlap, the committee went on: “To resolve overlapping mandate in Quality Assurance and Standards function in Basic Education, transfer the Quality Assurance and Standards functions at TSC to the Ministry of Education. In addition, strengthen the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards at the State Department of Basic Education.”
Yet the TSC Act (Section 35) leaves no doubt that the commission’s role is only limited to teaching standards in terms of teacher registration, career progression and professional development programmes.
It says that “a teacher who fails to — (a) undertake a prescribed career and professional development programmes; or (b) take out a teaching certificate under section 35(2) (b) of this Act shall be dealt with in accordance with the regulations.”
And like with every other employer, the Act gives the commission powers to hire, discipline and dismiss teachers.
It says the Commission may, after inquiry, cause to be removed from the register of teachers the name of any person—who has died; who the Commission is satisfied has obtained registration through fraudulent means; who has been convicted of a sexual offence or an offence against a pupil or student; who has been convicted of a criminal offence which, in the opinion of the Commission, renders the person unfit to be a teacher; who the Commission has directed should be removed as a result of disciplinary proceedings instituted under this Act; or suffers from such physical or mental illness or infirmity which renders the person incapable of performing the duties of a teacher.
This is what the quality assurance department at the TSC is all about as entrenched in the Act.
Quality assurance department
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On the other hand, the quality assurance department at Jogoo House B derives its responsibility from the Basic Education Act (Section 64) which spells out its roles as ensuring standards and maintaining quality in institutions of basic education; administering policies and guidelines set for basic education; supervising and overseeing curriculum implementation and delivery, monitoring the conduct of assessments and examinations in institutions of basic education; and monitoring and evaluating standards and quality in basic education.
And this is where the Act draws the line. Section 66 says: “Quality Assurance and Standards Officers may- (a) at any time enter any basic education and training institution with or without notice to ensure compliance with education standards and regulations, require any person responsible for the management of a basic educational institution or teacher or employee to produce for his or her quality review, any time table, syllabus, or record book, material or document; (ii) to furnish the Quality Assurance and Standards Officer with such information relating to the teaching or the management of the basic education institution…”
It is clear that there can only be a symbiotic relationship between the TSC and the ministry and the perceived conflict is only a fallacy. While TSC basically deals with credentialism and discipline, the ministry deals with actual teaching and learning and therefore the so-called ‘sweeping ‘recommendation to have the TSC’s quality assurance department relinquish its responsibility to Jogoo House is a damp squib.
For all its expertise and eminence in make-up, the working party put a damper on the quality of its research through this faux pas and to a large extent the overall authority of its report.
The writer is a consulting editor