Storm in Parliament Over Macharia’s Mismanagement of Delocalization Policy
There was storm in Parliament as lawmakers demanded the immediate abolishment of the teachers’ delocalisation policy that commenced in 2018. MPs took issue with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) chief executive Nancy Macharia for mismanaging the programme. They charged that the decision to move teachers who have served in their local areas for many years was not only wrong but had affected their lives, including breaking families.
While debating a motion sponsored by Lurambi MP Titus Khamala, the lawmakers regretted that under Macharia, teachers have suffered a lot with some of them losing families when deployed in areas far away from their spouses and children. Khamala, who moved the motion, told TSC to initiate a comprehensive review of the policy with the involvement of teachers in order to make it consistent with International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Unesco laws and practices on teacher management and deployment; and, He said: “Review the teacher recruitment policy with a view to devolving it to zonal level at the point of recruitment.”
Khamala argued that the delocalisation policy had disrupted lives, lowered morale and caused untold trauma to many in the teaching fraternity countrywide. He said the exercise was not supported by a clear policy framework and was initiated without the participation of teachers or their unions, contrary to Articles 118 and 132 of the Constitution on public participation and involvement of the people in the process of policy making.
“Appreciating the invaluable role that teachers play in actualising the national goals of education; noting that a conducive working environment for teachers enhances performance, this House resolves that the Teachers Service Commission- immediately reverses the ongoing delocalisation of teachers,” he said. The delocalisation of teachers which commenced in 2018 was meant to provide tutors with a new working environment and address teacher shortages in certain areas.
The exercise has seen the transfers of thousands of long serving principals and school heads. The motion comes months after the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), also called for the immediate end to the exercise saying the policy has disrupted the lives of many tutors. Union Secretary-General Collins Oyuu said while teachers can be transferred for various reasons including administrative or on request, some past transfers had been punitive.
Oyuu said the delocalisation policy affected teachers who are married couples. “All our members who feel aggrieved by this policy shall be assisted to have them work close to their families and spouses. This must not attract any argument since it is espoused in the running CBA. We wish to invite affected members to reach out to us for support,” the Knut boss said
And while contributing to the motion yesterday, the MPs expressed their disappointments over the policy, and demanded that TSC stops the ongoing delocalisation exercise and initiate a review of its deployment policy.
Funyula MP Wilberforce Oundo, who seconded the motion, said that while they are not opposed to the policy in its entirety, any transfer of a teacher should be guided by International Labour Organisation laws. He said it was absurd for TSC to transfer a 55-year-old teacher to a far-flung area after years of working in his home county. “Teachers should be consulted when making any decisions affecting their welfare. Many of them have complained to me that despite them having huge families they have been transferred to far-flung areas. This has been very bad for them, especially female teachers, because it could mean the end of their marriages.”
Kiminini MP Kakai Bisau also opposed the delocalisation exercise saying it has brought more pain to teachers. “I really sympathise with areas where there are shortages of teachers. That is why I am proposing we have an amendment in arid areas where we have challenges to allow other considerations to take centre stage during the teacher recruitment. Otherwise we need to do away with this policy,” he added.
Manyatta MP John Mwaniki said he has been receiving calls from teachers who want his assistance to return to their home areas. “The National Assembly should stand firm in protecting the welfare of teachers,” he said. Kirinyaga women representative Njeri Maina said she has received a number of requests from teachers who are demanding that they move to their local areas. Mosop MP Abraham Kirwa regretted that delocalisation was done without the involvement of both teachers and KNUT.