TSC’s War With MOE Intensifies as TSC Seeks More Powers, Supreme Control Over Teachers
The teachers service commission, TSC , is proposing amendments to its governing law that would significantly expand its powers, potentially escalating the tug of war with the Ministry of Education.
In a proposal to amend the Teachers Service Commission Act – the supreme law that governs the teacher employer – the TSC is seeking more regulatory powers over teachers and control over their continuous professional development (CPD).
“In the performance of its functions, and the exercise of its powers, the commission shall have power to review any of its decision on its own motion and regulate its own practice and procedure,” the proposed amendment reads.
This directly contradicts recommendations made by the presidential working part on education reforms , which called for stripping the TSC of these responsibilities and creating a new body, the Kenya Professional Teaching Standards (KePTS), to handle them.
The proposal could fracture the relationship with the Ministry.
The TSC’s mandate would expand to ensuring professional teaching standards.
However, the TSC’s push would lead to duplication of duties should the amendment to the law get a green light and the proposals by the presidential working party sail through.
Last week, TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia, called on the public to submit their input on the proposed change in law.
In the Notice, seen by the Standard, Dr Macharia said the changes are necessary to align the law with the relevant national policy and legislative changes that have taken place since its enactment 12 years ago.
“Pursuant to Article 10 of the Constitution, the Commission hereby invites stakeholders and members of the public to submit written memoranda on the proposed amendments to the TSC Act,” the notice reads.
The public has until 5pm on February 15 to submit their submissions on the proposed changes. They are required to write to the Secretary TSC.
The proposed amendment also seeks to maintain powers to train in-service teachers – those already employed – with the TSC.
In the TSC Amendment Bill, the commission seeks powers to continue providing capacity-building programmes and training to improve the professional competence of teachers.
The amendment also states that teachers will be required to continue taking continuous professional development and acquire a practising certificate.
However, the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms had proposed that this mandate be transferred to the Ministry of Education.
The team recommended the establishment of the Kenya School of Teacher and Education Management (KeSTEM) which will coordinate professional training of teachers; the entity would be under the Ministry of Education.
“Additionally, KeSTEM will take over and offer Continous Professional Development in the following teacher training colleges: Kigari, Shanzu, Garissa, Asumbi, Muran’ga, Mosoriot, Narok and Machakos,” the Presidential Working Party report reads.
And in what could spell doom for thousands of teachers facing disciplinary action, TSC further seeks powers to take action on matters relating to the character and conduct of a person without the burden of strict rules of evidence.
“In the performance of its functions, and the exercise of its powers, the commission shall have powers to establish, designate and appoint institutions for capacity building and the professional development of its employees,” reads the Presidential Working Party report.
The proposed changes come on the backdrop of disquiet between the Ministry of Education and the TSC which has seen some exchanges on various in the education sector.
The most recent being a disagreement on TSC’s decision to withdraw all teachers from st Gabriels Isongo secondary school after residents ejected the principal over poor 2023 KCSE results.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machagu criticised TSC saying any decision made in a learning institution should always ‘put the interest of the child first.’
Other changes TSC is seeking touch on the appointment of the commission’s top leadership.
The amendment provides that at least two-thirds of those sitting at the helm of TSC are teachers, educators or have experience in education.
“In nominating and appointing members of the Commission, the President shall ensure that two-thirds of the members have knowledge, skills and experience in education,” reads the amendment.
For the appointment of the TSC Chairperson, the changes dictate that the President within 14 days of a vacancy in that office appoint a selection panel to recruit a suitable candidate.
The selection panel will then consider applications, shortlist the applicants and publish the names in two newspapers of wider circulation and interview the candidates.
Upon completing interviews, the panel will then submit the names of three successful candidates to the President and three other names for consideration as members of the commission.
The President will then be required to within 7 days after receiving the names, nominate a person for appointment as chairperson and members of the commission and forward the names to Parliament for approval.