Over 1,200 CSOs Vent Anger on TSC For ‘Misinformation’ About Them
Just days after the Teachers Service Commission’s (TSC) Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Nancy Njeri Macharia told legislators that the TSC Curriculum Support Officers (CSOs) are at grade C5 and D1, the CSOs have lambasted their employer for distorting facts.
While appearing before the National Assembly’s education committee on February 14, 2023, Dr. Macharia told the MPs that the CSOs were evaluated and placed under Job Group C5 by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
According to the TSC boss, the CSOs are round about the same grade as primary school head teachers, which is C5 on the lowest and D1 on the highest, and they are essentially placed to supervise primary school teachers.
“They are still in the teachers payroll because that is how they were appraised by SRC…when they did job evaluation it was decided they can’t join the Secretariat,” said Dr. Macharia.
She further stated that the CSOs have their own Career Progression Guideline (CPG).
And now a document, which is a joint memorandum by the CSOs to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education dated February 15, 2023, has painted a different picture on what is on the ground.
Approximately 1,200 CSOs countrywide have come out boldly to vent their anger and frustration at what they feel is misrepresentation of the facts on the ground, dismissing some of the things that were tabled before the committee as misleading.
“Whether by design or default, the TSC CEO, in her response to your questions, could not interpret the new job groups. She was too ignorant about the CSOs’ position. She was caught flat-footed,” read the document in part.
“In trying to justify some “untruths”, the CEO mixed up the legislators by asserting that CSOs were placed at the level of the highest paid primary school teacher…This was a serious contradiction and admission that the CEO is not in touch with what is on the ground,” they added.
According to the CSOs, most of them were and continue to be appointed at grade C5 for the case of former primary head teachers and some at D1 for the case of CSOs from secondary schools who are Bachelors of Education degree holders.
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They add that they have all along been ignored during the commission’s promotions.
“Most of the head teachers are at D1, a grade higher than that of the CSO. Doesn’t this make the CSO feel inferior, intimidated and ill-equipped to perform their duties?” read the document, adding: “The CEO admitted that CSOs were sent to secondary schools to carry out this and that function where most principals are at D3, D4 and D5. Does(n’t) this also make the CSOs feel inferior or intimidated?”
The CSOs maintain that currently most CSOs, who are holders of Bachelor’s degrees, are recruited from secondary schools. Their counterparts from primary schools have since earned higher qualifications like Bachelor degrees, Masters and even PhDs.
They note that with these higher qualifications, the situation now calls for a re-evaluation by the SRC.
“Some CSOs appointed while they were at C5 are still in the same grade ever since. This means they did not earn a promotion and might never, since there are no promotional adverts for CSOs over the years. Indeed, the CSOs in Kenya operate within only 2 job groups, C5 and D1, irrespective of their professional experience, age and or otherwise,” lamented the CSOs.
To rub salt into the wound, the commission prepared the 2019 CSOs Career Progression Guidelines (CPGs), which till to date have never been implemented as had been anticipated.
“The CEO also admitted there is a career progression guidelines document for CSOs. What she didn’t say … is that this document was never implemented, and that the CSOs are never considered for promotions whenever the TSC makes such adverts,” they added.
According to the CPG document seen by Education News, the guidelines were to be operational with effect from September 11, 2019 to supercede the existing Scheme of Service.
The CPG established four grades of CSOs; CSO II and I at T-Scale 10 and 11 respectively, and Senior and Chief CSO at T-Scale 12 and 13 respectively.
For one to be appointed as CSO II as per the guidelines, a teacher was required to have served as a teacher for a cumulative period of not less than six years, or 10 years for CSO I.
Other additional requirements for the case of CSO II are a Bachelor’s degree in education from a recognized institution, or a Bachelor’s degree plus a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education from a recognized institution.
For Senior CSOs, a teacher must have served as a teacher for a minimum period of 12 years, or 15 for Chief CSOs.
Additional requirements for the above cadres, which also applies to CSO I include: a Bachelor’s degree in Education or Bachelor’s degree plus a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education, Master’s degree in Education/special education from a recognized university, and certificate in computer applications.
They must also demonstrate merit and ability as reflected in work performance and results, meet the requirements of Chapter 6 of the Constitution, and have attended a management course lasting not less than 2 weeks.
The CSOs are now asking the commission to implement the 2019 CPGs backdated to July 1, 2019 when the career guidelines ought to have been implemented, and pay the accrued arrears. They want their entry grade improved to D3 as well.
The CSOs are charged with the responsibility of assessing teacher needs, training them, providing professional guidance, and assessing learning outcomes, among other responsibilities.
They also ensure that teachers comply with the set teaching standards, advise on career progression and professional development, monitor conduct and performance, and collect and maintain teacher management data.
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