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July 24, 2024

Addressing Teacher Shortage: Senators Propose Contract Employment as a Solution – GOSSIP A

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Addressing Teacher Shortage: Senators Propose Contract Employment as a Solution

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) estimates a shortage of 111,870 teachers, which has prompted senators to propose contract employment as a solution.

The Senate National Cohesion Committee instructed TSC Chairwoman Nancy Macharia to identify legal issues that must be addressed to allow teachers to be employed on contract, arguing that this would allow the commission to hire more teachers with its limited budget.

Permanent primary school teachers receive a starting salary of 5h35,000, while contract teachers receive a “stipend” of 5h15,000.

Permanently assigned teachers in secondary schools begin with a starting salary of Sh55,000, whereas contract teachers begin with a salary of 5h20,000.

Ms. Macharia stated that the shortage persists even though the commission recruited 36,000 teachers earlier this year, with 47,329 teachers needed at the primary level and 64,541 teachers lacking in secondary schools.

“To accomplish this, the commission requires an annual budget allocation of Sh14.8 billion for teacher recruitment,” she explained.

The head of the TSC added that the commission cannot legally keep teachers on contract for too long and that, after two years, they will become permanent and pensionable.

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“We have never had enough teachers due to a lack of resources. We will recruit if you provide the budget, Ms. Macharia said.

Ms. Macharia informed the committee that records for the 36,000 newly hired teachers are being compiled and that they have not yet all been added to the payroll. Finalized are the records of only 20,900 teachers.

Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago stated that the Employment Act should be amended to remove any legal obstacles to allow for the contractual hiring of teachers, with clear terms of compensation and length of service.

“We cannot allow unions to hold us hostage. We have children to educate and Kenyans in need of employment, he said.

Mwenda Gataya, senator for Tharaka-Nithi, stated that the proposal to hire on a contract basis should be presented to the Cabinet for approval so that those who serve for a specified period are annually absorbed on permanent terms.

Senators have also advocated for a return to the delocalization policy, stating that when teachers are permitted to return to their preferred home counties, some regions that lack native-born teachers will be understaffed.

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“Subject to the availability of vacancies, the commission transfers teachers who apply for transfers back to their home counties. The commission has transferred 15,824 teachers to their preferred counties as of April, Ms. Macharia informed the committee.

Mr. Mandago criticized the National Assembly for compelling TSC to abandon its delocalization policy.

Article 10(2)(1) of the Constitution stipulates that national values and principles of governance include “human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination, and protection of the marginalized.”

“As the upper chamber, we must reconsider and reject this decision,” he said.

The Kenya Kwanza manifesto states, “To address the difficulty teachers face as a result of delocalization, we will replace this policy with a nationalization initiative that will reward teachers who choose to serve in other parts of the country.”

In the meantime, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u declined an invitation to appear before the Senate Standing Committee. On Education yesterday to shed light on the payment of pensions for retired teachers.

This was his fourth time not appearing before the committee. Now, the committee will formally summon Prof. Ndung’u to respond to a petition regarding a protracted case. Involving the payment of teachers who retired between 1998 and 2003.

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Prof. Ndung’u wrote in a May 18 letter to the Senate clerk, “Due to unforeseen circumstances and official commitments that require my immediate attention, I regret to inform you that I am unable to attend the scheduled session as requested.”

On May 4, the CS missed another meeting. He stated at the time that he had another appointment with the National Assembly on the same day.

Then, he submitted a letter stating that the government had paid over Sh16 billion to the teachers. Some of the retired teachers have since claimed that they have not received payment.

The committee also expressed concern regarding the learning environment in junior secondary schools (JSS) that lack adequate infrastructure and teachers.

“I have compassion for our JSS students. Something is extremely wrong. How are they taught science in the absence of laboratories?” questioned Senator Johnes Mwaruma of Taita-Taveta.

Addressing Teacher Shortage: Senators Propose Contract Employment as a Solution


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