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Members of Parliament have demanded to know whether a lower quorum in the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is the reason for delays in concluding the July pay-rise negotiations and recruitment of additional teachers to fill the biting teacher shortage schools are experiencing currently.

Parliament on Wednesday 28th grilled TSC CEO Nancy Macharia to tell them whether quorum hitches that have rocked the commission have risked the welfare of teachers, including negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Since March 2019, only two out of nine commissioners have been on duty as seven commissions have retired.

The two cannot make binding decisions as the nine-member commission is only considered legally constituted with at least half of the members.

Although the 2021-2025 CBA is expected to begin on July 1st, TSC is yet to engage in negotiations with teacher unions. Education committee chairperson Florence Mutua said without a quorum, the commission is unable to operate.

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“Can the CEO explain why she did not notify the President when she realised that the commission lacks quorum to decide on teachers issues? How have they been operating?” Mutua asked. Migori woman rep Pamela Odhiambo lamented the quorum hitch, saying, teachers’ issues are crucial.

“Some of the commissioners retired in 2019, why has it taken too long to pick their replacement?”Odhiambo asked.

TSC is responsible for recruitment, promotion, disciplinary processes and reviewing the standards of education and training of teachers. However, Macharia dismissed claims that lack of quorum had affected the functions of the commission.

In her defense, Macharia said TSC has been focusing on implementing earlier decisions, adding, it is not within her jurisdiction to notify the President on retirement of commissioners.

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TSC chairperson Lydia Nzomo retired last year while Commissioner Cleophas Tirop left in March 2019.

Commissioners Mbarak Twahir, Tache Bosa Gollo, Betreace Marembo Adu, Kinoti Manyara and Mr Albert Fred Ekirapa retired in March this year.

The National Assembly approved the appointment of Dr Jamleck Muturi as chairperson and Mr Alfred Otieno Oyucho as a commissioner.

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