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KNUT and KUPPET Demand for a Review of CPG

Teacher Unions have unanimously called for the review of Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) in order to avoid cases of teachers stagnating in one job group for a long period.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Collins Oyuu maintained that CPG has caused too much stagnation, and that while re-negotiating for the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), they will have to look into the issue of CPG.

“When we had the Scheme of Service, the pathway to promotion was automatic. However, the CPG has led to stagnation of teachers. If you are not an administrator, deputy head or maybe head teacher, your improvement in terms of salary is quite minimal,” he added.

According to Oyuu, the 2017-2021 CBA was actually generated by job evaluations from Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) – where heads and deputies were seen to bear huge workloads, hence their salaries increased as classroom teachers were ignored.

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On his part, KNUT Deputy Secretary General Hesbon Otieno said the current CPG has loopholes since it was designed out of the 2017-2021 CBA.

Otieno notes that the design of CPG only benefits a few cadres of teachers, most of whom are in administrative positions.

“We might not revert to the Scheme of Service, but we can review the CPG so that it is in tandem with all aspects of promotion and growth of teachers,” said Otieno.

Moffats Okisai, Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) Busia Executive Secretary, noted that the CPG has resulted in more harm than good in the teaching profession since it has birthed career stagnation.

“If the status quo will be maintained, it will take forty years of labour for a class room teacher to ascend to the position of Chief Principal. This implies that all will have exited service before reaching the apex,” said Okisai, further noting that the CPG needs to be revisited, reviewed and revised.

He notes that the calibration of job group cadres is a policy that has demoralized and killed the working spirit among teachers.

“Imagine having to progress from Senior Teacher I, II and III; Deputy Principal I, II and III; and from Principal, Senior Principal to Chief Principal. With this long wait, you can’t purport to act in a given administrative position and expect to be confirmed automatically,” he added.

Okisai also proposed that TSC should be conducting interviews quarterly in order to help build a data bank of school administrators and assure teachers of their progression; and further give much prominence to higher qualifications.

“In the past, teachers used to progress from being assistant teachers to heads of departments to deputy principals and finally principals. In addition, some job groups were regarded as common cadres. The rapid results initiative was equally being embraced. A teacher’s progression was certain after every three years of service on a given job group. This was a superior arrangement as opposed to the new arrangement that has been marred by confusion,” he said.

TSC vide Circular number 7/2018 date May 2, 2018 introduced the Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) for the teaching service, which became operational with effect from November 8, 2017.

The guidelines replaced the Scheme of Service for non-graduate and graduate teachers and for technical teachers and lecturers.

The CPG is currently applicable to teachers serving in public institutions both in primary, secondary, Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs), Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE), Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) and primary and secondary Special Needs Schools (SNEs).

It established a new grading structure for the teaching service, which elongated the job scales from ten  to eleven grades based on the relative worth of each job.

The eight established grades for primary school teachers are:  Primary Teacher I and II, Senior Teacher II and I, Deputy Head Teacher II and I, Head Teacher and Senior Head Teacher.

The 10 established grades for secondary school teachers are: Secondary Teacher III, II and I; Senior Master IV, III, II and I; Deputy Principal II and I; and Principal, Senior Principal and Chief Principal.

For promotion from one grade to the next, a teacher is required to serve for a minimum period of three years in each grade, and is also subject to existence of funded vacancies in the approved establishment, minimum qualifications per grade, relevant Teacher Professional Development (TPD) modules, relevant experience and satisfactory performance.

On December 13, 2022, TSC Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Nancy Macharia told the National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Education that all teachers were promoted in 2017, costing the government Ksh54 billion, and that it was not true some teachers had remained in the same grade for up to 10 years as was alleged.

Dr. Macharia insisted that the longest a teacher may have stayed in the same job grade is four years and that the government was doing everything possible to ensure they were promoted.

In January this year, the commission advertised a total of 13,713 promotional vacancies for both primary and secondary school teachers, with interested parties being given up to January 31, 2023 to submit their applications online.

Primary school teachers had the lion share of the vacancies, with the commission setting aside a total of 10,507 vacancies for head teachers and deputy head teachers.

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