Teachers are fighting a move by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to charge them Sh6,000 for annual professional training, a decision made earlier this year after the commission reached an agreement with four institutions.
Kenyatta University, Riara University (KU), Mount Kenya University (MKU), and the Kenya Education Management Institute (Kemi) were chosen to train teachers, with the program set to begin in December of this year.
The main spectacle, however, was Wilson Sossion’s unceremonious resignation as secretary-general of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT).
Sossion announced his departure from KNUT, accompanied only by his family, to pursue other interests. He resigned only a day before the election, and Collins Oyuu was elected to replace him.
KNUT Reaffirms Support For TPD
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has officially announced its support for mandatory retraining of teachers despite strong opposition from teachers.
Collins Oyuu, the secretary-general of Knut, reiterated the importance of employer training and development, noting that many false claims have surrounded the recently launched program.
To quell the ongoing opposition, Oyuu has challenged TSC to provide information on the retraining program.
“There’s a lot that is being said about the teacher professional development some say that the teachers will be required to travel for the training, this is not entirely true,” Oyuu said.
He called for stakeholder engagement and the Teachers Service Commission to work together to resolve the program’s issues.
The TPD Programme
TSC launched the TPD programme on September 22nd, a new module that will see public school teachers renew their professional certificates every 5 years.
Teachers will now part with about 6 000 shillings every year for a six-year professional training in order to be issued with a professional teaching certificate apart from what they acquired in university.
The teaching certificate will be renewed after every five years. TSC chief executive officer Nancy Macharia said the aim is to make teaching in the country be run and managed like other professions such as law and engineering.
TSC said it will employ innovative assessment strategies such as reflective journals, portfolios and presentations to carry out the program.
At the end of each module teachers who are successful will have their teaching certificates renewed after every five years.
TSC says teachers who fail to train will have licences revoked. Macharia stated that the move is intended to improve Kenyan teachers’ professional standards as well as keep them up to date on emerging trends in the education sector.
TPD, she explained, is a life-long learning program divided into six hierarchical competency levels, with each level taking five years to complete.
“At the end of each module, successful teachers will have their teaching certificates renewed after every five years,” she said.
Macharia stated that in order to participate in this program, every teacher registered with the commission will be required to identify and register with one of the accredited service providers.
She urged teachers to embrace it, claiming that it benefits them in line with its goals.
Teachers Pressure Group (TPG) Calls Union Leaders To Resign
According to Martha Omollo, a spokesperson for the Kenya National Teachers Pressure Group, Kuppet and Knut officials have failed to protect members from the “punitive” Teacher Professional Development (TPD).
A meeting by the Teachers Pressure Group (TPG) aimed at discussing TPD in Nairobi was disrupted by those who said they had been ordered to do so.
A group of roughly five men dressed in T-shirts similar to those worn by TPG members stormed the Professional Centre near the Parliament Building in Nairobi, ordering the teachers to disperse.
The five claimed they were sent to disperse the teachers by a “Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) official.”
“This meeting must end now, this business has to stop immediately,” shouted the leader of the group as he grabbed the TPG’s banner.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and Knut were accused of intimidation by TPG members.
Teachers thought to be members of the Kenya National Teachers Pressure Group were transferred by the commission.
Ms. Eva Muchemi was transferred from Nairobi to Narok, while Fanuel Ambole was transferred from Machakos to Tana River. Ms. Ann Wanyoike was relocated to Kitui from Nairobi.
Jane Gitonga, Betsy Mitema, Julius Aloo, and Kinyua Mwangi were also affected. More than ten more teachers are said to have received transfer letters.
Teachers, on the other hand, have claimed that the transfers were intended to scare and pressure them into quiet.
The transfer came only days after Martha Omollo, the TPG’s spokesperson, was transferred from Nairobi’s Mowlem Supaloaf Primary School to Trans Nzoia County.
After being transferred from Nairobi, Omollo, who was fighting for reforms and better working conditions for her colleagues, cried out over what she thought was an unfair relocation.
Universities Welcomes Teachers For TPD
Riara, Mount Kenya, and Kenyatta University have all stated that they are ready to begin training tomorrow.
The program, which was supposed to begin today, has been postponed until tomorrow, December 28th, at 8:30 a.m.
The three universities have stated that they are prepared to handle the TPD classes, which will be delivered via online webinars.
Some teachers have objected to Mount Kenya’s decision, which initially allowed sh. 1,000 for registration and the rest payable ‘polepole’ for a period of twelve months.
The registration fee has since been raised. Teachers must now pay a registration fee of Sh. 4,000.
Riara University, on the other hand, allows teachers to pay sh. 500 for registration and the rest over a twelve-month period.
The current training will take place online and will last four days, beginning on December 28th and ending on December 31st.
Teachers will first enrol in an Introductory Module that will last one year, from December 2021 to December 2022.
The Introductory Module, which begins in December, will be delivered via an online webinar, with some institutions requiring teachers to download the Zoom app from the Google Play store.
Teachers will pay a yearly capacity building fee of sh. 6,000 to TPD service providers. Most service providers have spread the fee to reduce the financial burden on teachers.
In 2016, the Commission implemented Performance Contracting for Institutional Heads and Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development (TPAD) for teachers, with the goal of strengthening curriculum implementation and accountability in resource utilization to improve learning outcomes.
Teacher unions had previously urged the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to recall the performance appraisal tools, claiming that the exercise had caused teachers anxiety.
There were also concerns that the tool could be used to target teachers for promotion and unfairly blame them for poor performance. Macharia, on the other hand, stated that the quality of education has improved since the implementation of TPAD.