Inform Us When You Are Overpaid or Face Action, TSC tells Teachers

TSC Introduces New Study Leave Policy For Teachers

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has reviewed teachers study leave policy in order to harmonize it with the Code of Regulations for Teachers (CORT) and future changes in the teaching services. The commission pointed out that the changes in the teaching service that have necessitated the review and update of the policy include: the introduction of Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), the subsequent introduction of new courses in the higher institutions of learning as well as emerging external factors like the COVID-19 pandemic that impact on the teaching service. The last circular on study leave policy was issued in December 2012, whereas the review of the CORT was done in 2015 and as such, there has been disharmony between the two documents.

The Commission’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Nancy Njeri Macharia said that the policy guideline will address the gaps that were identified and also take care of emerging issues like pandemics, global trends on technology and ongoing curriculum reforms in the country. “TSC is working towards making the services of its clients more efficient. Towards this end, the Commission has been developing the skills of its employees.

In 2021, the Commission developed policy guidelines to manage the study leave of its employees. The aim of this policy is to provide a level playing ground for all teachers by helping them to acquire skills, knowledge, attitudes and competencies that are necessary to improve performance and also prepare them for higher responsibilities and career progression,” stated Dr. Macharia in the draft policy document.

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According to the Draft Policy document seen by Education News, if the policy is approved, new guidelines will be put in place. These include the requirement that teachers appointed or deployed by the Commission to administrative positions who take study leave for six months should relinquish such positions. Additionally, teachers pursuing Master’s degrees in arts courses through school based or part-time programmes will qualify for a maximum of 3 months’ study leave to carry out research or practicum.

The leave will be without pay and cannot be extended.  Those undertaking part time Masters in Science based and technical courses will be granted a one-year leave to carry out their research. The leave will not be extended and will be without pay. The proposed policy also states that the extension of study leave shall be limited to a maximum of three (3) months extension for masters and one (1) year for PhD, which will be without pay.

Currently, teachers pursuing Master’s degrees both in arts and sciences through school based or part time programmes only qualify for a maximum period of three (3) months leave with no extension to carry out their research.

The number of primary school teachers on leave at any given time shall not exceed 2 percent of the country’s primary school teacher population and one (1) to four (4) teachers for one (1) to four and above (4) streamed school. The proposed policy states that there shall not be more than one teacher on study leave from the same department at any one time. In the new proposed guidelines, teachers who will fail to submit their semester progress reports, results slips or transcripts to the TSC headquarters at the end of each semester will have their study leave cancelled.

If the person was on study leave with pay, their salaries will be stopped and the Commission will recover salaries and allowances paid during the period of study. “The Commission is committed to providing a favourable environment for professional and skills development of employees to help them effectively deliver on their mandate,” noted Dr. Macharia in the document.   Furthermore, the proposed guidelines also state that should there be interruptions that affect all learning institutions such that no learning takes place; extension should be granted with pay for those on study leave with pay.

Teachers with disciplinary cases who have not completed two years after reinstatement as per the new proposed policy and those who will not pass their courses will not qualify for study leave. Any teacher on study leave who wishes to change the area of study or institution of learning will be required to seek the approval of the Commission prior to such change.  “All teachers will seek for course approval from the Commission before undertaking any course. Any teacher wishing to be considered for scholarship must meet the conditions of the policy and must apply for the scholarship through the Commission,” reads the draft policy in part.

Other than teachers listed in the CORT, teachers who will qualify for the leave should have worked for TSC for a minimum of five (5) years except for rehabilitation cases (employees of the Commission who might have lost their sense of hearing and sight hence need rehabilitation to deliver the expected services). Teachers who have served for a minimum of three (3) years since the expiry of a previous study leave, whether or not it was with pay, will also qualify for study leave.

The exception will be the cases of those with Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) certificates who will be required to serve for one year. Teachers who will qualify for study leave with pay are those selected for local or international training by the Commission, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of State for Public Service or any other development partner provided TSC is involved in the identification and selection process.  Others are untrained Graduate Teachers employed by TSC studying for the Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in approved universities, primary/secondary school teachers admitted to KISE to study a Diploma in Special Education and teachers applying for a second masters have never benefited from a study leave before.

In the same breath, teachers admitted in accredited local universities to study for Masters Degrees in History, Geography, Christian and Islamic Religious Education, English, Kiswahili, French, German, Arabic, Fine Art, Art and Design, Music, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Agriculture, Business Studies, Special Education, Computer Science, MEd Technology, Home Science, Curriculum Development, Physical Education,  Guidance and Counseling/ Education//Counseling Psychology,Education Planning and Administration, Entrepreneurship, Project Management and Development, Development, strategic Management, Project Management, Leadership and Management and an education programme whose course outlines contents approved by the TSC.

“A teacher admitted to a school for the deaf or blind to learn adaptive skills when incapacitated while in employment of the Commission will be required to produce a medical report and an admission letter from a recognized corrective institution,” reads the draft policy in part.

On the other hand, those who qualify for study leave without pay are primary school teachers admitted to Diploma Colleges provided the subject studied is in the school curricula and primary school teachers admitted to National Polytechnics or Institutes of Technology for areas relevant to the teaching curricula.

Teachers who wish to study in an area that is not in the school curricula or in these guidelines, those who have not completed three (3) years after resuming from previous leave, and those who are admitted to a foreign university and is on self-sponsorship, will have to get clearance from the education ministry and the Commission.

Teachers admitted to accredited universities for Masters degree courses in Early Childhood Education, Research, Environmental Studies, HIV/Aids, Disaster Management; Gender Based courses, Poverty Eradication, Sustainable Development, Conflict Resolution, Education Communications Technology and Media Studies, those studying for PhDs and as well as those pursuing same level or lower level courses will also have leave without pay.

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