The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) may lose some of the powers it exercises over tutors as lawmakers want to prevent the agency from being both an employer and a regulator.
The Parliamentary Committee on Education plans to meet with TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia, Chairman Jamlek Muturi and the eight new Recruitment Commissioners to discuss the way forward.
Powers that MPs want to withdraw from the commission include registering and training teachers and reviewing standards and training of persons entering teaching service. The lawmakers propose that a separate professional body should be set up to register and develop career development programs and standards.
Committee chair Florence Mutua said her team would step back to reconsider the TSC Act of 2012, which allows the commission to perform the duties of both a regulator and an employer.
“We need to meet with TSC’s CEO, president and commissioners to discuss how we can strengthen, enhance and separate the commission’s powers,” Ms Mutua said.
Among the proposed changes is for TSCs to lose the powers to register teachers and renew their licences.
Then a new agency would be charged with developing a code of conduct and disciplining the wrong teachers. But lawmakers have yet to name the proposed agency that would take over the TSC’s powers if the change to the law is passed by parliament and assented to by the president.
The lawmakers have also not decided whether TSC will retain its current name or switch to another organization. During his reign at knut, Wilson Sossion, the former secretary general of knut, insisted on the split of TSC to separate his role as regulator and employer.
Regulators and employers
The Busia Woman representative said that issues are being raised by the teachers on the operation of TSC and how it treats them.
Last week, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi asked the Education Committee to move forward with speed and address a petition presented to parliament by teachers from the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Opposed to commercial development. (TPD) scheme.
Teachers are also pushing Parliament to amend the TSC Act 2012 and ***** Commission to amend some of its powers and separate its roles from being a regulator and an employer.
Ms Martha Omolo, leader of the teacher pressure group, which is protesting TSC and demanding the resignation of union leaders, was summoned to TSC headquarters yesterday, a move that has raised concerns among teachers.
The lawmakers propose that a separate professional body should be set up to register and develop career development programs and standards.
In medicine and law, businesses are controlled by bodies other than the employer.
In other countries, such as Zambia, teachers are governed by a council, a body separate from the Teachers Service Commission.
New admission grade
The TSC Constitution (Article 247) empowers the Commission to:
1. To register trained teachers,
2. Recruitment and employment of registered people,
3. To appoint teachers employed by the Commission for service in any public school,
4. Promote and transfer teachers, exercise disciplinary control and
5. Stop employing fake teachers.
The Commission also exercises the powers to review the standards of education and training of persons entering the teaching service, to review the demand and supply of teachers, and to advise the national government on matters relating to the teaching profession.
Being an independent body, the Ministry of Education cannot take steps to review the standards of education and training of those who are involved in the teaching career.
An attempt by former education CS Amina Mohamed to introduce new admission grades for college admissions with C- for diploma and certificate courses for teachers in marginalized counties was opposed by TSC.
Grades were lowered for students from marginalized counties and backdated from 2006 onwards for candidates sitting in the KCSE.
The counties included Turkana, Samburu, Wazir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Lamu, Baringo, Narok, Kajido, Kwale, Kilifi, Tata Taveta, Tana River and West Pokot. The lowering of the grade was done in accordance with the legal provisions and in compliance with the Kenya National Qualifications Framework Regulations, 2018.
However, TSC threatened not to employ teachers who would be trained at lower grades.
Due to the conflict between TSC and the ministry, 3,265 students were thrown out of teachers’ colleges and the ministry had to pay them compensation.