Teachers Service Commission has merged two of its key divisions in a move meant to speed up the processing of pension records for thousands of teachers who retire annually.
The move is meant to knock out bureaucracies that have been blamed for delays in the processing of pension details for teachers before they are forwarded to the National Treasury’s Pensions Department for payment.
An average of 2,000 teachers in TSC’s payroll retire annually.
In a document released by TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia, the human resource management division has been merged with the pensions department.
“This will create seamless and efficient service delivery from entry to exit of all teachers employed by the commission,” it says in what is a marked departure from the past system where teachers had to shuffle from one department to another while making pension claims.
Lack of harmony between the two departments and the national Treasury has been blamed for failure to synchronise data leading to inordinate delays sometimes running into years after formal retirement.
These delays have resulted in teachers dying before they could claim their benefits while others have resorted to courts to have their money paid.
With the restructuring which took effect two months ago, the merged departments have been renamed as units and will “align all human resource processes from entry to exit, serving as a one-stop-shop for all human resource-related matters.”
“All communication from teachers will be channelled through the county directors’ offices and all county human resource officers will work with sub-county directors to ensure submission of records to do with salary payments from entry to exit, conformation of appointment, performance appraisals, pension claims and gratuity,” says the circular.
Pension and gratuity payouts hit Sh20.44 billion in the last financial year as the Treasury raced to clear a court award to a group of retired teachers who retired in 1997.
Figures from the Controller of Budget reveal that the value of benefits paid out to civil servants rose by 33.33 per cent in July-September 2020 from Sh15.36 billion for a similar period the previous year.
The rise was attributed to a court ruling that led to the revision of pension claims for teachers who retired between 1997 and 2003.
The High Court in 2019 upheld a ruling in which the TSC was ordered to process pensions for more than 50,000 teachers who retired between July 1, 1997 and June 30, 2003 based on salaries awarded in the 1997 agreement.
The TSC had unsuccessfully sought to overturn an October 23, 2008 decision by Justice David Maraga, claiming that the retired teachers had inflated the amount payable, contrary to the court’s direction of 2008. TSC argued that the amount should have been Sh16.7 billion and not Sh43.2 billion but lost in its application to have the ruling set aside and the matter heard by a three-judge bench.
The government at the beginning of this year rolled out a new pension scheme for all public servants, including teachers and that which requires employees to contribute 7.5 per cent of their pay.
The scheme, known as the Public Service Superannuation Scheme (PSSS), will see a monthly collection of an excess of Sh3 billion.
The plan, which came into force on January 1, is mandatory for all teachers under TSC, workers under the Public Service Commission, National Police Service Commission, and any other public service employees under the age of 45.
At the same time TSC has asked its senior management officials in the regions to send details of all teachers who have achieved global, national and local recognition to be featured in the Teachers Image, a quarterly publication by the commission.
“The aspects may include exemplary performance in national examinations, sports, theatre, institutional management, innovation, community service or advocacy,” says a circular to all regional and county directors