Senators Join MPs In Opposing mandatory retraining of teachers

Senators Join MPs In Opposing mandatory retraining of teachers

Senators have strongly opposed the mandatory retraining of teachers introduced by Teachers Service Commission last week.

Two senators, Jonas Mwaruma of Taita Taveta and his Kericho counterpart Christopher Langat questioned the rationale behind subjecting teachers to shoulder the cost of the training.

they Instead demanded that the course cost be shouldered by TSC or in worst case scenario, there should be a cost sharing deal between TSC and teachers.

Introducing the matter to the Senate, Mwaruma insisted that it is the sole responsibility of the employer to identify capacity gaps within any public service, including teaching, and find ways of addressing the gaps.

He said the employer’s responsibility is extended to planning on the budget and catering for the total cost of retraining or any other form of capacity building.

He further questioned the criteria used to identify the institutions to conduct the training.

“This now leads to several questions that need to be answered. Are these the only institutions that qualify to take the teachers through the retraining? How were they identified?” Mwaruma posed.

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The training is scheduled to take place in four institutions—Mount Kenya University, Kenyatta University, Riara University and Kenya Education Management Institute.

“I wish to point out that there are many learning institutions in Kenya with capability and ability to deliver such a training, yet only these four have been identified countrywide,” Mwaruma said.

The training consists of six modules, each containing five topics to be learnt in five years. This means t will take a period of 30 years for a teacher to complete the training programme.

Each topic will be covered for a year, the cost of each topic in every module is currently pegged at Sh6,000.

However, Mwaruma termed the refresher course as currently packaged “is not only outdated but also unpalatable”.

In his statement,  Langat wants TSC to explain the rationale for the consideration of a teacher’s performance in the modules, as one of the components to be evaluated for promotion, noting that the training is not a compulsory requirement.

He also sought to establish the level of public participation before the implementation of the policy.

“It is a requirement that all government programmes and projects need to be taken through the public participation process as enshrined in Article 232(1)(d) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010,” Langat said.

Senator Ochillo Ayacko asked TSC to reveal what rewards will be attached to the retraining process.

“You cannot promote 300,000 people, there are no such positions, so they ought to tell us what are the rewards associated with the positions… that should be told to us and to the teachers so that they are motivated to towards getting trained,”  he said.

He said the programme risked affecting family experiences and eating into teachers’ personal time.

“It is important for every teacher to have some personal time. If you are asking them to plan to be away from their families, loved ones, their businesses for a whole 30 years, what are you telling them?” he posed.

Senator Getrude Museruve said it is important for the TSC to explain the expertise of those to conduct the training.

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