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Drunkard Teachers to Get a Leave of 90 Days

The Teachers Service Commission, TSC, has issued guidelines to tame chronic alcoholism teachers. Among the steps TSC has outlined steps to tackle chronic alcoholism among teachers is sending affected teachers to rehabilitation centres.

Alcoholism has been cited as one of the major reasons for teacher absenteeism and job loss, especially among male teachers. Though TSC has given no data on the affected teachers, the struggle to flag alcoholism indicates just how serious the problem is.

“Alcohol abuse is associated with social, economic, psychological and physical challenges on the individual, family and the community. We recognise that some of our teachers are or have fallen victims to alcoholism leading to, among other issues, absence from work,” Reads TSC monthly newsletter, Mwalimu News.

TSC has urged heads, teachers and spouses to offer psychosocial support to the affected teachers. If admitted to rehabilitation centres, the affected teachers  will be granted a 90-day leave to go through the programme.

“Once the immediate supervisor identifies a teacher who has an alcohol or drug-related problem, they should refer them to the sub-county or county director, who in turn should refer the patient to the wellness section at the TSC headquarters,” the guidelines state.

“The wellness officer will ask the teacher to bring a next of kin to help in the assessment of the case, before referring the victim to a rehabilitation or psychiatric facility.”

Thereafter, the teacher should apply for sick leave through their respective county directors and attach the referral by the wellness officer and the admission letter from the facility.

“Often, a teacher is discharged after the 90 days, after which, they should report to TSC wellness section with a discharge summary and a certificate from the facility for a recommendation to be posted to a school.”

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Teachers who have drug and alcohol problems can be granted the sick leave only twice during their employment term. This means that those who do not reform stand a great risk of interdiction and deregistration from the TSC payroll.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary-general, Mr Collins Oyuu, however, said cases of alcoholism have reduced.

“Alcoholism is now controlled. There was a time it was a serious issue. Some teachers were notorious to the level of making noise at market centres. They are now polished,” he said.

He said the reported cases are isolated and urged teachers to drink responsibly. Some teachers acknowledged that there is increased alcoholism and attributed it to work-related stress and other socio-economic factors.

“There is alcoholism among teachers and many cases of unattended lessons. Many are heavily indebted and some listed with credit reference bureaus. The draconian policies by TSC and tough rules for career progression just add to the hopelessness and depression,” a teacher told the Nation.

TSC has strictly warned heads and other teachers against covering for the affected teachers when absent by attending their lessons.

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