Teachers may not go for Teacher Professional Development (TPD) in April after MPs called for an immediate stop to the TPD courses until proper stakeholders’ consultations are undertaken.
The legislatures also want the training fees of Sh6,000 paid by the government and the list of institutions offering the refresher courses expanded.
The details are contained in a report of the National Assembly Education Committee tabled in the House on March 3, just before legislators went for a two weeks’ recess.
“If the Commission is not restrained from implementing the TPD programme, the rights of teachers and stakeholders under Article 232(1)(d) of the constitution stand the risk of being prejudiced,” said Committee chairperson Florence Mutua, who signed the report on March 1, 2022.
The report follows a petition tabled on October 5, 2021, by Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba on behalf of representatives of Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet).
In the petition, Milemba raised issues on cost of the programme, selection of institutions to offer the course and whether public participation was done before roll-out.
Kuppet and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) have argued that even though continuous training sharpens skills, the cost should be carried by the employer.
Proposing suspension of the programme, MPs said: “That the TSC should conduct extensive public participation as required and take to account the views of teachers, trade unions and other stakeholders with a view of building consensus on the programme.”
The proposal is a major setback for the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that has been trying to professionalize the teaching service.
In their findings, MPs said that teachers are required to pay Sh6, 000 for each module of the TPD.
This means that in an entire teaching career, each teacher will be required to take five modules within 30 years, translating to fees of about Sh180,000.
“This is despite low salary increments for teachers, stagnation in the same job group and the rising inflation rate which has reduced the disposal income of teachers,” reads report.
Mutua argued that TSC has not made public to the teachers and other stakeholders in the education sector, the considerations it based on in arriving at cost per module.
“TSC committed teachers to personally meet the burden of Sh6,000 for each module of the TPD programme without any consultations with teachers,” said Mutua.
The PTD programme targets to benefit all registered teachers in public and private primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the country.
There are about 750, 446 registered teachers in the country. Of these, 341, 760 are under TSC payroll. Another 170,000 are registered and teaching in private schools. Another 238, 686 teachers are registered but not yet employed.
MPs also revealed that the cost of rolling out the TPD programme is Sh4.5 billion. It, however, emerged that some Sh2 billion had been set aside for the TPD programme.
On institutions offering the courses, MPs said that it was not clear why top universities and institutions did not bid despite having adequate infrastructure network, human resource capacity and experience to successfully run the programme.
TSC, through a competitive process, picked Kenyatta University, Riara University, Mount Kenya University, and the Kenya Education Management Institute to train the teachers.
Mutua said the TPD ought to have been integrated in the ongoing capacity strengthening programmes for teachers on the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).
“… to avoid duplication of government effort, waste of public resources and subjecting teachers to bearing the burden of a mandatory programme to achieve a well-coordinated and holistic approach,” said Mutua.
MPs also recommend the enactment of a new law and proposed changes to Article 237 of the constitution and the TSC Act to solve the conflict of interest of the commission being a regulator and an employer.
The committee observed that TSC holds the constitutional and statutory mandate of the employer and regulator with powers conferred by Article 237 of the constitution and TSC Act.
“There is need to establish a separate regulatory agency to remedy conflict of interest,” reads the report.
On public participation, MPs say that they could not ascertain whether public participation was done before roll-out.
“Diverse views and public debate on the programme would have made teachers more aware and prepared for the implementation of the TPD programme as well as improvement of the programme by employer,” reads report.
MPs argue that before the roll out, TSC ought to have conducted extensive public participation on the programme.
“TSC did not involve teachers in the preparation of the policy framework for TPD and its subsequent roll-out, contrary to the mandatory requirements of Article 232(1)(d) of the constitution, despite the fact that teachers are directly affected by the policy,” said Mutua.
TSC argued that TPD is anchored in law under Section 35(2) (a) of the TSC Act that says the Commission shall require every registered teacher to undertake career progression and professional development programmes as may be prescribed by regulations made under this Act.