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New Transfer Rules To Favour Teachers Seeking Transfers

It’s a great relief for the over 340,000 teachers since the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has expressed will to reviewed some of the contentious issues on teachers’ transfers in the current ongoing transfer exercise the review is meant for staff balancing in schools across the country.

Under the new rules, for the first time under teacher transfer process, teachers who have served in a station for a period of not less than three (3) years since first appointment will be eligible for transfer. Initially, a teacher would only be eligible after serving for at least 5 years.

Details of the letter sent to the Commission’s field officers show that this new will not be applicable to teachers in North Eastern areas. This implies that they will have to serve for five years since their first appointment.

“The teacher must have served in a station for a period of not less than three (3) years and five (5) years for North Eastern and other areas respectively since first appointment; unless otherwise authorized by the Commission’s Secretary,” reads the letter.

The transfer policy, popularly known as the delocalization policy, was introduced by the TSC in January 2018 to make teachers work outside their home counties, with massive transfers being witnessed in April and August of the same year.

During the current transfer exercise, the Commission will consider family matters and transfer couples who have formally declared their marital status to the same neighbourhood if possible.

Previously, the transfer policy hurt many families since married teachers were transferred to far flung areas, away from their spouses and children.

Teachers read signs of relief when the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was signed in July 13, 2021. Through the CBA, the delocalization policy was reconsidered and reviewed to allow married couples have a chance to be re-united with their families.

“In promotion of family values provided for under Article 45 of the Constitution of Kenya, the Commission shall consider transfer requests for married couples to appropriate stations/locations,” reads the CBA in part.

This implies that the Commission will transfer teacher couples to schools near each other though it will be subject to availability of vacancies in the proposed station, the need for a suitable replacement, need for equitable distribution and optimal utilization of teachers, existing staffing norms and proof of marriage.

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The circular further advised the Commission’s Regional officials to ensure they first conduct staff balancing within the sub counties before transferring teachers outside their jurisdiction. The officials were further directed to give priority to teachers who have individually applied for transfer and are eligible for transfer.

TSC County Directors were given until May 4, 2022 to submit their reports on how the exercise was conducted complete with the list of the affected teachers.

Teachers with proven cases of terminal illness and those who are 56 years and above will also be exempted from transfers out of their current Sub-County of work which was the case before.

However, the Commission directed the committees vetting the transfers to ensure that the cadre of teachers suffering from terminal illness and those with disabilities produce valid documents of their illness or disability where applicable in order to enjoy the exemption.

In case the teachers meet the criteria for transfer, the Commission will consider ‘First in, first out factor’, gender balance and teacher’s security where applicable.

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