Hope for teachers as State told to spend Sh20bn on promotions
More than 20,000 teachers stand to be promoted if their employer adopts recommendations of a report by the National Assembly’s Education Committee to spend part of Sh20 billion on the exercise.The committee, in its report, regretted that thousands of teachers are not getting promotions due to frequent and unwarranted litigations by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and teachers’ unions.“As a committee, we met and agreed that TSC, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) hold a meeting and resolve this dispute over promotion of teachers,” said the committee chairman Julius Melly (Tinderet).
TSC has been allocated Sh251 billion in the next financial year starting July 1, an increase from the 2018/2019 budget of Sh225 billion.The committee observed that it was wrong to punish teachers who deserve promotions and that the promotions would determine their retirement package.
The TSC, in its 2019-2023 strategic plan, acknowledged that thousands of teachers had stagnated in their current positions for years due to lack of funds and limited opportunities for upward mobility.The commission stated that limitations on budgetary provisions for the last five years had limited opportunities for teacher promotion, a situation it said had led to a demotivated teaching force and a high turnover in some teaching areas, creating general instability in the provision of teaching services.
Teachers unions have been pushing for the promotion of teachers who have acquired higher academic qualification since 2014.Data from TSC indicates that a total of 54,702 teachers have upgraded their education and acquired new academic papers and are seeking promotions.However, Knut secretary Wilson Sossion insisted that all the 54,000 teachers should be promoted saying they have stagnated in their current positions for far too long.“Teachers who deserve promotions ought to be moved and it is not a favour we are asking for,” said Mr Sossion.The commission has since indicated that it will be putting up advertisements for a competitive promotion of teachers.
According to TSC, during the 2015 to 2018 period, 11,177 teachers were promoted competitively through advertised posts.“These were teachers promoted from Job groups K to R, in addition to 35,887 teachers upgraded through the common cadre provision. During the period under review, the Commission, in conjunction with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), conducted a job evaluation exercise for the teaching service that informed the implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) with teachers’ unions,” reads the strategic plan.
Subsequently, the commission reviewed the existing schemes of service and adopted career progression guidelines for the teaching service.The commission and Knut are already in court over the promotion of teachers. TSC argues that the demand by Knut that teachers be promoted based on attainment of higher qualification as the only criteria is contrary to the code of regulations for teachers.
The TSC chief executive officer, Nancy Macharia, in a memorandum says promotion is guided by merit and ability as reflected in the teachers’ work, performance and results, seniority and experience as set out in the scheme of service, existence of a vacancy, academic and professional qualification and any other criteria the commission may consider relevant.She says attainment of higher qualification is not the only factor as alleged by Knut and insists that demand by the union for the promotion of teachers based on higher qualification alone is not tenable as the same is contrary to the requirements of the CBA signed by parties.However, Knut in its memorandum, says it is not seeking promotion of teachers only based on higher qualifications only but promotions on the basis of what the law, regulations and the practice has as policies.“The CORT has not been amended nor repealed and cannot be repealed or amended by a policy document. Its recognition and adoption of scheme of service is anchored and protected in law,” says Knut in a memorandum signed by Mr Sossion.
Frontier Council To Address Water Challenges In Northern Kenya
Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) CEO Simba Guleid has called for better ways in dealing with drought and water challenges in the Northern region.
Speaking today during the inspection of a water project at Iftin in Garissa Township, Guleid said that while there have been perennial water challenges in the region, a lot of water has been lost through flooding and the rest flowing out through River Tana.
The project, which is an underground water borehole of about 35 meters deep was allocated about 7.5 million dollars and is expected to serve over 30,000 households in Garissa Township.
“We are undertaking an assessment for establishment of regional water master-plan entailing how we can tailor-make the water solutions in each county,” Guleid said
“We can have ways of harvesting the runaway water from rains and the flood water into a water reservoirs and dams or search for underground water,” he added
FCDC serves as a catalyst in promoting, integrating, sustaining peace and socio-economic development of Northern Kenya. The counties under FCDC are Garissa, Isiolo, Wajir, Mandera, Tana River, Lamu, Marsabit, West Pokot, Turkana and Samburu.
The counties have received an cumulative amount of 35 million dollars for the last 5 years from the Swiss government and other development partners to mitigate water and drought challenges.
The Swiss Ambassador to Kenya Valentin Zellweger said that his government was committed to coming up with viable projects that would bring solutions for water, drought and flooding challenges that have faced the northern region people for the past years.
“We do not only work together with the local authorities and FCDC but also with the private sector. We have companies that are working on these projects with us and that ensures that the project will remain sustainable even if the Swiss government decides to withdraw,” Zellweger said.
The inspection team included Garissa County water CEC Abdi Omar, Garissa Deputy County Commissioner James Ole Kipury among others.
The Northern counties have continuously been hit by natural disasters among them drought and floods. There have also been other challenges including boundary conflicts over scarce pastures and water for livestock and Al-Shabaab invasions.
Government Awards Scholarships To The Second Group Of 9,000 Applicants
The Government has today awarded the second cohort of 9,000 Elimu Scholarship beneficiaries, under the Kenya Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project.
The successful applicants emerged from a thorough selection process involving 54,000 applicants who sat the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education Examination (KCPE).
Speaking today during the launch of the Elimu Scholarship Programme at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha pointed out that more than 40,000 applicants who were not selected for this scholarship are also needy and require some form of sponsorship to meet the secondary school expenses such as boarding fee and cost of uniforms.
“I am therefore urging other partners to step in and borrow a leaf from the Elimu Scholarship Programme and assist the many needy and vulnerable learners out there who need support,” said Magoha
The CS thanked the Equity Foundation for their Wings to Fly Programme, the KCB Foundation, Jomo Kenyatta Foundation and other organisations that support the learning costs for needy and vulnerable learners.
He appreciated the Equity Foundation for helping the Government to select the 9,000 Elimu Scholarship beneficiaries using their already tested and proven criteria of identifying needy and vulnerable children.
However, Prof. Magoha said there is a need for a robust coordinated and regulated environment for effective direction of philanthropic efforts.
This, he said, should be done with a view to eliminate duplication of efforts and manage any challenges that may be impeding effective administration of scholarships and other social support initiatives by partners.
The CS pointed out that the Elimu Scholarship Programme targeted 110 Sub-Counties and 15 urban centres with informal settlements.
“This year we affirmatively increased the allocation of learners from urban centres with informal settlements from 25% to 33.3 % of the 9,000 slots to cushion the very vulnerable households and give hope to the less fortunate,” he added.
He said the award of scholarships under the Elimu Scholarship Programme is testimony to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s motto of leaving no child behind in the provision of basic education to all, adding that he witnessed the selection process and it was fair and it will change lives and families.
Prof. Magoha said the Government is committed to fast tracking reforms in education, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all learners in line with our Constitution.
Responding to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Magoha said his ministry recently reviewed (downwards) the fees for secondary schools and called upon all stakeholders to ensure that the guidelines are adhered to.
“My Ministry has prioritised quality based educational reforms, which include implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) with a focus on nurturing every learner’s potential,” said Magoha
The CS congratulated the beneficiaries, and urged them to take this opportunity seriously and above all focus on their studies in the various schools where they have been admitted to.
Prof. Magoha said the cohorts shall be monitored to ensure they complete a whole cycle of secondary education.