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TSC Releases Fresh Guidelines to Counter Alcoholism Among Teachers

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has issued a number of guidelines meant to tame chronic alcoholism among teachers and its employees in the recently released policy.

The Commission has also outlined steps on how to tackle the problem among its employees, including referring the affected teachers to the Wellness Section by the County and Sub County Directors.

This is revealed in a recently released policy titled Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ADA)Prevention Workplace Policy for Employees of January 2022.

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Alcoholism has been blamed for absenteeism, especially among male teachers, with many having lost their jobs over the years however, the Commission has never provided data on affected teachers though by coming up with a policy meant to intervene measures against alcohol and drug abuse and applicable human resource guidelines to deal with the vice among its employees is indicative of the extent of the problem.

According to TSC Chairperson Dr Jamleck Muturi John, the Commission found it necessary to put in place a policy to guide its employees on ADA issues.

“The policy addresses the psychosocial challenges that affect employees and takes cognizance of the key alcohol and drug abuse issues that may affect them and thus hamper service delivery.

“It provides a framework for the implementation structures and programs that will form a road map in providing alcohol and drug abuse services to all the Commission employees,” noted Dr Muturi in the policy document.

Dr Muturi maintains that the implementation of the policy will enable the Commission to create awareness and manage the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs to maintain a drug-free, healthy and productive workforce.

According to the policy, the Commission’s employees with alcohol and drug addiction and Substance Use Disorder (SUD)shall be subjected to the same treatment as employees suffering from other health ailments.

“Employees with ADA related problems shall not be discriminated against and shall receive services and benefits as stipulated in the Employment contract,” reads the policy in part.

Among the measures the policy has adopted in order curb chronic alcoholism among its employees include prohibiting any form of

advertisement that promotes the consumption of alcohol and drugs and also prohibiting manufacturers, distribution, dispensing, possession, consumption and sale of alcohol and drugs at the workplace or while on official assignments.

The policy has also prohibited receipts of gifts and tokens in the form of alcohol and drugs or giving rewards and tokens or materials that in any way may trigger alcohol and drug craving at the workplace, as TSC employees and stakeholders being barred to present any transactions related to alcohol and illegal drugs as part of expense account reimbursement.

The policy has also empowered the Wellness Section of the Commission to identify relevant partners for purposes of collaborations and establishment of appropriate referral system and treatment facility, and further mandated the Commission to ensure that ADA Information,

Education and Communication (IEC) materials are available and displayed at the workplace including schools.

Further, the policy has also empowered the Wellness Section to facilitate the formation of psycho-social support networks and advise employees with ADA issues to join and benefit from the After-Care Programmes to prevent relapse; as it further mandated to coordinate the treatment and management modalities for re-integration of SUD employees through referral to identified treatment facilities and aftercare programs.

90-Days Rehabilitation Leave

In TSC monthly Mwalimu News newsletter of November last year 2021, the Commission urged heads of institutions, other teachers and spouses to help in offering psychosocial support to the affected teachers.

“Alcohol abuse is associated with social, economic, psychological and physical challenges on the individual, family and the community. We recognize that some of our teachers are or have fallen victims to alcoholism leading to, among other issues, absence from work,” said TSC in the newsletter.

The Commission also stated that teachers who get admitted to rehabilitation facilities will be granted a 90-day leave to go through the programme, but there’s a long process before that happens.

“The TSC treats alcoholism among teachers as a chronic health problem that needs intervention by counselors, colleagues and close family members and we have put systems in place to help the victims,” admitted TSC in the newsletter.

According to TSC, at the school level, once the immediate supervisor identifies a teacher who has an alcohol or drug-related problem she or he should refer them to the Sub County or County Director, who in turn should refer the patient to the Wellness section at the TSC headquarters.

The Wellness officer will ask the teacher to bring a next of kin to help in the assessment of the case, before referring the victim to a rehabilitation or psychiatric facility.

If a teacher is admitted to any of the centres, she or he should write a letter to apply for sick leave to enable him or her go through the 90-day programme.

The teacher then takes the letter accompanied with an admission letter from the facility to TSC (Wellness Section) to allow TSC write to the respective County Directors asking them to grant the sick leave.

“Often, a teacher is discharged after the 90 days, after which, she or he should report to TSC Wellness section with a discharge summary and a certificate from the facility for a recommendation to be posted to a school,” stated TSC in the newsletter.

Teachers who have drug and alcohol problems can be granted the sick leave only twice during their employment term. This means that those who do not reform stand a great risk of interdiction and deregistration from the teachers’ roll a situation that has prompted the Commission to operationalize the new policy which will be reviewed after two years to prevent that from happening.

operationalize the new policy which will be reviewed after two years to prevent that from happening.

TSC periodically gazettes the names of teachers who are deregistered for various offences after going through a disciplinary process at the commission, as the Commission dismissing close to 100 teachers last year alone from its payroll on account of alcohol.

Other reasons for deregistration include death, fraudulent registration, conviction on sexual offences or an offence against a learner, criminal offence conviction or physical or mental illness, which renders one incapable of performing the duties of a teacher.

The TSC ADA Policy requires that training of managers, supervisors and head of institutions be offered on alcohol and drug abuse to enable them detects employees with SUD and facilitates intervention measures.

The policy also requires that Alcohol and drug abuse education to form part of the induction programme for newly recruited employees, as it further requires the Commission to grant sick leave to all employees with ADA challenges as stipulated in the Code of Regulation for Teachers (CORT)and Human Resource Policy and Procedures manual.

Any additional sick leave days shall be granted on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the Commission as Heads of institutions being

directed to refer teachers with SUD to the County and Sub-county Director who will subsequently refer them to Wellness Section of the

“Employees with SUD should be referred to Wellness section by County and Sub County Directors, Directorate Directors or Heads of service areas for assessment, counseling, and referral to treatment centers or other ADA programmes in line with the needs of the employee,” reads the ADA policy.

TSC has tasked heads of schools with the duty of helping teachers with drug and alcohol problems. It also warned other teachers against condemning and profiling their colleagues or covering for them when absent by attending their lessons.

The Commission has further advised teachers not to condemn of profile the victims and not abetting their behavior by covering them up when absent, attending their lessons, or giving them money for drinks.

In addition, the Commission has advised teachers to introduce the affected teachers to recovering addicts groups such as the Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) fellowship.

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