The Teacher Service Commission (TSC) has since its inception strived to ensure that the welfare of all teachers in the country has been taken care from employment, training, remuneration, promotion to retirement.
The entity, over the years, has found new ways to deal with problems affecting the education sector and come up with ideas on how to improve on its service delivery.
Aside from fighting for rights of teachers and better pay which it has done for years, the commission has taken upon itself to offer advanced training to its members, which recently led to the rollout of the Teachers Professional Development (TPD) programme on September 22, 2021.
The launch came after TSC obtained, by consent, a stay of from the Court of Appeal staying the judgment of Justice Byram Ongaya which was rendered in Petition 151 of 2018.
The programme is meant for all practicing teachers from primary to tertiary institutions to expand their knowledge, refine their teaching skills and roles, develop new techniques in line with the ever changing and advancing society.
During its inception, TSC indicated that the exercise would be mandatory and be conducted during the school holidays, for a period of five days, and the teachers would facilitate the cost.
It targets 90,000 secondary school teachers, 222,000 primary school teachers, 8,000 instructional leaders in secondary schools and 22,224 instructional leaders in primary schools.
The main purpose of the project is to help teachers acquire skills and understanding in order to handle issues that arise with the Teacher Performance and Appraisal Development (TPAD).
Four institutions namely, Mount Kenya University, Riara University, Kenyatta University and Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI) were selected to offer the TPD modules trainings.
The four settled on an annual agreement-based contract with TSC and have the option of extending it.
In November, Riara University School of Education Dean, Dr Julius Otundo, had already confirmed the facility’s preparedness for the task which was to commence in December 2021.
Otundo asserted that the TPD was a positive step by the Nancy Macharia-led Commission in ensuring the existence of a professional workforce.
According to the compulsory training, teachers would have to undergo the coaching six times in their career with each module taking 5 years.
The type of module to be taken depends on the number of years one has left in the service before reaching his or her retirement age.
In order to be re-certified, a teacher commencing the training would be required to successfully complete seven sections of the first module.
Teachers who fail the exercise would have their certificates withdrawn.
Like with every new policy, the scheme faced its share of problems. Six days after the rollout, the initiative was challenged in form of another court petition.
A parent named Ngethe Karanja, who is an education consultant, moved to the Nakuru Law Courts and sought orders to stop TPD’s implementation.
Ngethe argued that teachers and stakeholders were not involved in the development of the contents of the TPD modules.
He further proclaimed that the Commission appointed the institutions to undertake the program without regard to due process.
The educational consultant also noted that teachers involved in the programme will not be promoted until the end of 30 years.
In its defense, the Commission argued that it carried out all the necessary consultations and followed existing procurement laws before settling on the service providers. Further, it noted the training wouldn’t affect promotions.
Employment and Labour Court Judge David Nderitu ruled that the issues raised were of a great deal, hence, the petitioner needed to serve the commission and other respondents in the event of a hearing.
TPD, however, received a temporary relief after the court recently gave the go ahead for its commencement.
The case is set to be next heard on January 31, 2022.