Teacher unions have unanimously urged for a reform of the Teachers Service Commission’s (TSC) Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) to prevent teachers from remaining in the same job group for a long period of time.
Collins Oyuu, Secretary General of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), stated that CPG has caused too much stagnation and that while renegotiating the 2021–2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), they will have to address the issue of CPG.
The path to promotion was automatic when we had the plan of service. Yet, the CPG has resulted in teacher stagnation. “If you are not an administrator, deputy head, or head teacher, your salary increase will be minimal,” he noted.
According to Oyuu, the 2017–2021 CBA was actually formed by job evaluations from the Salary and Remuneration Commission (SRC), where heads and deputies were considered to be carrying heavy responsibilities, therefore their pay was raised while classroom teachers were neglected.
According to KNUT Deputy Secretary General Hesbon Otieno, the present CPG has flaws because it was designed outside of the 2017–2021 CBA.
According to Otieno, the design of CPG benefits only a few cadres of teachers, the majority of whom are in administrative roles.
“We may not return to the Scheme of Service, but we can reform the CPG so that it is in line with all areas of teacher advancement and progress,” Otieno added.
Moffats Okisai, Executive Secretary of the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET), Busia, stated that the CPG has done more harm than good in the teaching profession by causing career stagnation.
“If the status quo would be maintained, it will take forty years of service for a class room teacher to advance to the position of Chief Principal. This means that everyone will have left service before reaching the top,” said Okisai, adding that the CPG should be reconsidered, evaluated, and changed.
He observes that the calibration of job group cadres is a policy that has discouraged and crushed the working spirit among teachers.
Imagine having to advance from Senior Teacher I, II, and III to Deputy Principal I, II, and III, and from Principal, Senior Principal, to Chief Principal. “You can’t pretend to act in a specific administrative capacity and expect to be confirmed automatically,” he continued.
Okisai also advocated that TSC conduct interviews quarterly in order to help establish a data bank of school administrators and ensure teachers of their progress, and that higher qualifications be given more weight.
“In the past, teachers progressed from assistant teachers to department heads to deputy principals to principals. Also, certain job groups were regarded as common cadres. The initiative for quick outcomes was also well received. For every three years of service in a certain work group, a teacher’s promotion was guaranteed. “This was a better arrangement than the new one, which was hampered by confusion,” he remarked.
TSC issued Circular 7/2018 on May 2, 2018, introducing the Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) for the teaching service, which went into effect on November 8, 2017.
The rules replaced the Scheme of Service for non-graduate and graduate teachers, as well as technical teachers and lecturers.
The CPG is currently applicable to teachers working in public institutions such as primary and secondary schools, Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs), the Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE), the Centre for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA), and primary and secondary Special Needs Schools (SNEs).
It introduced a new grading framework for the teaching service, extending job scales from ten to eleven grades based on the relative value of each position.
Primary school teachers are classified into eight grades: Primary Teacher I and II, Senior Teacher II and I, Deputy Head Teacher II and I, Head Teacher, and Senior Head Teacher.
Secondary school teachers are classified into 10 grades: Secondary Teacher III, II, and I; Senior Master IV, III, II, and I; Deputy Principal II and I; and Principal, Senior Principal, and Chief Principal.
A teacher must serve for a minimum of three years in each grade before being promoted to the next grade. Promotion is also contingent on the existence of funded vacancies in the approved establishment, minimum qualifications per grade, relevant Teacher Professional Development (TPD) modules, relevant experience, and satisfactory performance.