Gachagua intervenes in TSC, Education Ministry wars

Teacher Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia chats with Education CS Ezekiel Machogu during the release of the form One placement results for the 2022 KCPE Examinations candidates on January 16, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has stepped in to quell the duel over the control of the education sector.

In what could bring an end to the bad blood between the Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the DP has asked the two to form a team that will spearhead the implementation of recommendations to revamp the sector.

Gachagua’s intervention comes following months of push and pull between the ministry and the teacher's employer after the latter was stripped off mandate in control of the teaching sector through recommendations by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER).

"We are one country, one government serving same people on a common goal which is our children… A parallel approach does not augur well with the intended purpose of reforms," he said during an engagement meeting with the education sector.

The meeting at the DP's official Karen residence in Nairobi sought to harmonise the implementation of the PWPER recommendations.

He further directed the parties to put in place a technical team to oversee the implementation of the Working Party report within a week.

Gachagua said the team will ensure a common ground is reached for the ministry, teachers employer and stakeholders.

"The President has accepted the recommendations from the Presidential Working Party. We have to work together in it's implementation," he said.

In its report, the Working Party, gave powers to the Education Ministry, diluting the authority of the teacher's employer.

The report sparked a tug war between the Ministry and TSC putting the education sector in shaky ground.

From the recommendations, TSC will lose the quality assurance function, which will revert to Jogoo House as it were before TSC was entrenched as a constitutional commission.

Both offices have had quality assurance departments but the one based in Jogoo House is understaffed and ill-equipped. Equally, the commission will cede the role of training teachers to the ministry. 

This tension escalated in recent months, fueled by proposals to amend the TSC Act 2012, potentially retrieving the powers stripped by the report.

The proposed changes, outlined in the TSC Amendment Bill 2024, include granting the TSC regulatory authority over teachers and control over their continuous professional development (CPD).

However, the Ezekiel Machogu-led ministry is uncomfortable with some proposals.

The DP said the radical reforms undertaken in the education sector require collaboration and cooperation with all the key actors. "There is success when people, institutions, and agencies work together," he said.

Machogu affirmed the ministry's commitment to collaborate with TSC to realise the reforms. "We are one education sector and delivering the reforms needs coordination, hence need for the technical team," he said.

The CS further noted that working together will hasten the delivery of required procedures. "Education reforms align education policies and practices with the broader goals of sustainable development," he stated. 

The teacher's employer raised concerns about some of the recommendations before the National Assembly Education Committee.

TSC said if implemented, some of them will have impact on the constitutional powers and independence of the commission.

"Despite submitting a memorandum and engaging a committee of the working party on November 18, 2022, the Prof Munavu led team failed to consider the commission's input on critical matters involving the teachers’ service," said TSC boss Nancy Macharia. 

Some of the grey areas that TSC see as infringing on their mandate if implemented include move to have the ministry oversee the retooling of teachers, setting the entry grade of teachers service, establishing of a comprehensive school management system that place pre-primary, primary and junior secondary together and harmoniSing teachers performance evaluation with the civil service standards.  

The teacher's employer also faulted the recommendation to discontinue the categorisation of schools into national, extra county, county and sub-county schools to career pathways.  

TSC wants the PWPER recommendations to be first subjected to necessary legal amendments.

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