After a drive by the government to implement the delocalization policy, official data from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) shows that Nairobi City County is the place that teachers requesting transfers desire the most.
Nationwide, 36,277 teachers applied for transfers between November 1 last year and January 31 this year, according to statistics given by the commission to the Senate Committee on Education. 14,733 of these transfer requests were matched and granted approval, whereas 21,544 are still waiting.
In contrast to the 76 teachers who asked to be transferred outside of Nairobi during the same period, 1,885 teachers applied to be transferred to the capital city.
At the end of January, only 41 of the 1,162 requests for primary schools and four of the 723 requests for secondary schools had been granted.
In the same time frame, only one secondary school teacher left the city while 45 primary school teachers did.
1,074 other teachers have applied to be transferred out of Bungoma County, whereas 1,336 primary school teachers have applied to be transferred there.
The non-monetary collective bargaining agreement (CBA) the teachers unions agreed to with the TSC contains the basic terms of the agreement to reverse the delocalization policy. The Kenya Kwanza Alliance promised to eliminate it once it was in power, turning the issue into a campaign talking point.
The policy of transferring teachers who were deemed to have “overstayed” at the same work station began in 2018 and resulted in the transfer of thousands of teachers, sparking criticism from teachers’ unions who said the program had disrupted the lives of teachers.
After receiving 237 requests to transfer teachers in secondary schools as opposed to 94 requests to transfer out of the county, Kajiado County also became one of the most popular counties.
In the county, 486 primary school teachers applied for employment, compared to 434 who requested to be transferred elsewhere.
“The transfer of teachers from one institution to another is based on the need for equitable distribution and optimal utilisation of teachers, availability of vacancies in the station, the need for replacement, existing staffing norms and medical grounds certified by a registered medical practitioner,” reads the document signed by Mr Cavin Anyuor, the director for legal, labour and industrial relations, on behalf of CEO Nancy Macharia.
The document was prepared in answer to Senator Alexander Mundigi of Embu County’s inquiries on delocalization, who wanted to know the breakdown of the teachers who were transferred into and out of Embu County.
1 157 teachers applied to be deployed in the county, according to TSC data, while 357 others sought employment elsewhere.
244 of these were brought in, while 229 have already left the county. Others are waiting for approval.
Ms. Macharia went on to say that before granting a transfer, the commission confirms that there is a vacancy in the selected station and that the station a teacher is leaving has a suitable replacement.
“This way, the commission is able to ensure equitable distribution of teachers across the country for the benefit of all learners,” she said.
Counties that the TSC classifies as “hard-to-staff” were hit by massive requests to leave with only a few teachers asking to be transferred to the counties.
Only nine secondary school teachers and 134 primary school teachers in Samburu County registered for deployment, while 94 secondary school teachers and 246 primary school teachers requested to leave the county.
129 secondary school teachers in Turkana County asked to be transferred away, compared to 23 who wanted to move there. Since then, 37 teachers have left the county, and an equal number have been hired.
Mombasa County, like Nairobi, is a favorite among secondary school teachers, with 340 applications received compared to 55 requests to leave.
“Not all teachers apply to be transferred to their home counties. Some transfer requests are for transfers other than home counties. As an employer, the commission cannot dictate to a teacher to apply to be transferred to a particular county. Similarly, the commission cannot decline a transfer request simply because a teacher hasn’t applied to be taken to his home county,” the document reads.
Ms. Macharia warned against misunderstanding the reversal of the delocalization policy to suggest that “teachers must now not only teach in their home counties but also in their villages,” in response to Senator Mundigi’s questions.
According to her, counties with insufficient teacher production would end up severely understaffed, while counties with an abundance of teachers would be overstaffed, wasting resources.
Most casualties would be found in arid and semi-arid regions as well as in hard-to-staff places.