A fresh row is brewing between the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) over impending mass transfers and delocalisation of school heads.
Panic has hit over 30,000 heads of public schools as details emerged of a fresh shake-up by the TSC.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has directed its regional staff to collect and forward data of school heads who have stayed in one station for over nine years.
In a February 26 memo to all Regional Directors, TSC wants to be furnished with details of primary school headteachers and principals of secondary schools who have exited the teaching service.
The employer has also requested data of school heads who are presently working from home due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, signaling a major shake-up of public schools’ management.
TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia had asked teachers who are 50 years and above and those with underlying conditions to work from home to mitigate the spread of the virus.
The memo dated February 26 and whose deadline lapsed last week advises that principals aged 55 and below be considered for transfers. It says that newly appointed principals under Grade D3 principals will fill the vacancies.
County Schools are headed by principals falling under Grade D3. There are about 1, 031 county schools with about 145,000 learners.
Principals of sub-county schools fall under grade D2. There are about 7,000 sub-county schools with about 650,000 students.
Principals of extra county schools fall under grade D4. There are about 531 sub-county schools with approximately 130, 000 students.
The document signed by Dorothy Jonyo, Deputy Director Staffing at the TSC, provides a format for data presentation before they are sent to the Commission.
Under the secondary schools’ matrix, regional directors are required to capture the home county of the principals complete with details of their current station.
These details must include the size of the school, the sponsor of the institution, and the category of the school and enrolment data.
The mean score registered by the schools for the last three years between 2017 and 2019 must also be captured as well as the institution’s host county. The principal’s present designation, job group, and gender must also be captured.
For primary schools, TSC wants the age of the headteacher captured. The teacher’s home county, designation, current station, and the host county of the school details are also required.
Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion yesterday said the union will oppose the plan which he said will be rolled out in April.
Sossion claimed the delocalisation policy was sneaked in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report which he said is TSC is using to institute the schools’ management shake-up.
In a letter to the BBI secretariat, Sossion said: “The policy was not proposed by Kenyans but was unjustly sneaked into the report to drive TSC’s agenda of delocalisation of teachers.”
“If TSC executes massive delocalisation of teachers in April, then it shall be met with collective industrial action to safeguard our families and the teaching profession.”
The BBI report proposed that the Ministry of Education adopts policy guidelines that discourage local recruitment and staffing of teachers, depending on the circumstances.
“To strengthen social ties and promote unity among all the communities, stakeholders recommended that the Ministry of Education reviews the curricula to introduce and integrate the teaching of national unity, character, and cohesion to learners during their formative or early years,” says the report.
Even as unions rejected the delocalisation and transfers, TSC has always insisted that the transfers were in line with the provisions of the code of regulations for teachers and Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) signed between TSC and their unions.
“The Commission finds it an act of dishonesty and deceit on the part of the unions’ leadership to continue making public pronouncements calculated at misleading the same teachers the leaders are supposed to guide,” Dr Macharia said.
The mass transfers and the delocalisation exercise has been a bone of contention between TSC and Knut.
In 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Education to review the TSC policy on mass transfers.
“I am aware that delocalisation has created some unforeseen challenges that have affected some teachers,” said Uhuru.
Defending the transfers, Dr Macharia said transfers and delocalisation were negotiated and signed by the two teachers’ unions and documented in the CBA