Urgency to Trim TSC’s Powers Proposed Presidential Working party on education reforms
Reforms team propose TSCs role to be limited to recruiting and promoting. The team has also supported mergers of universities and strengthening of middle level colleges
It has been established that these are some of the recommendations made by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms in its second interim report.
Sources in the team revealed that the second interim report, which addressed teachers training, powers of Teachers Service Commission (TSC), middle level colleges and universities will be presented to the president soon.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu and top ministry officials met the working party members on Monday at the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA).
Insiders said that long discussions went into how to check the powers of TSC to ensure its command is limited to only recruiting and promoting teachers.
The team also wants the entry grade to teachers training colleges reviewed to accommodate more students after it emerged that the stringent admission rules have locked out more students.
It also supports mergers of universities, setting up of centers of excellence and strengthening middle level training institutions that they recommend should be done in each county.
“The issue of pending debts was a major debate and it emerged that once this is sorted out the institutions of higher learning would be back on their feet.
“It actually emerged that there is need to set up more technical training institutions and not expanding existing universities,” said the source.
“The issue of merging universities was ratified but most importantly, creation of centres of excellence where specific universities are known for various products because a university cannot replicate itself over and over”
But what will elicit debate is the proposal by the working party to check TSC powers. Insiders in the task force said the powers wielded by TSC both as an employer and regulator was a deep conversation by members.
“Some of these were common sense proposals because it is only teachers who are regulated by their employer. For all other professions, there is clear distinction between employer and regulator, “said a source.
However, the changes may require a referendum as TSC is a constitutional commission.
“The issue of a referendum was also discussed because TSC is a constitutional commission but there will be conversations on whether parliament may be roped into the matter,” said the source.
TSC is established under Article 237(1) of the Constitution as a constitutional Commission with primary functions being to register recruit and employ registered teachers.
TSC is also empowered to assign teachers for service in any public school or institution, promote, trans-fer teachers, discipline and terminate their employment.
This constitutional role effectively gives the TSC exclusive mandate over teachers with little or no ministry interference.
Last year, in a report of the National Assembly Education Committee ta-bled in the House on March 3,2022 recommend enactment of a new law and proposed changes to Article 237 of the Constitution and the TSC Act to solve the conflict of interest of the commission being a regulator and an employer.
The report released last year just before legislators went for a two-week recess observed that TSC holds the constitutional and statutory mandate of the employer and regulator with powers conferred by Article 237 of the Constitution and TSC Act.
“There is need to establish a separate regulatory agency to remedy conflict of interest,” reads the report by MPs.
The report followed a petition ta-bled on October 5,2021 by Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba on behalf of representatives of Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet).
Speaking during release of KCPE results, Machogu said: “We are looking to the Presidential Working Party to make recommendations about laws, policies and regulations in our sector. We have seen a number of attempts to amend some of the existing laws, policies and regulations, a few of which are currently pending before the National Assembly,” he said.
Machogu said he will consult with all stakeholders with a view to driving the reform processes to a decisive and logical conclusion based on recommendations of the Working Party.
“We will appeal on the respective committees of the National Assembly and the Senate to be patient with us as we will regularly knock on their doors as we seek these legal and policy re-forms,”he said.
On admissions to TTCs, the task force heard that the institutions have not taken in more students because of the stringent entry requirements.