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MPs Want TPD Paused

Members of Parliament to Kenya’s National Assembly have demanded that the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) courses pause with immediate effect.

They have demanded that TPD should only resume after the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) conducts comprehensive consultations with stakeholders.

TSC had directed teachers across the country employed under the Commission to register and attend the TPD Courses in institutions that it had approved. Besides, the Commission also wanted teachers to cover the fees for the training. This is according to a report from the National Assembly Education Committee tabled in Parliament on March 3 before MPs went for a two-week break

“Under Article 232(1)(d) of the Kenyan Constitution, Rights of teachers and stakeholders stand the risk of being prejudiced if TSC is not restrained from implementing the TPD programme,” said the National Assembly Committee chairperson Florence Mutua as she signed the report on March 1, 2022.

The report was tabled following the lodging of a petition presented on October 5, 2021, by the Emuhaya Member Parliament Omboko Milemba on behalf of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers representatives (KUPPET).

Milemba expressed concern over the cost of the TPD, the selection of the institutions to offer the course and whether public participation was involved before it was launched.

While it is clear and obvious that training on a continuous basis improves skills, KUPPET and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) argued that the employer should bear the cost of the training.

The legislators resorted to suspending the program saying that the Commission should conduct extensive public participation as it is required and take into account input from trade unions, teachers and other stakeholders in order to build a clear consensus on the program.

The proposal has seemingly set back the Commission’s efforts as far as the TPD is concerned.

As the legislators found out, each teacher is required to dispense with Kshs. 6,000. With five modules required to complete the TPD over a period of 30 years, the total amount teachers will do away with is around Kshs. 180,000 in total during that duration.

Following the reporting of the first case of the COVID-19 global pandemic in March 2020, the country underwent an economic recession. This caused teachers’ unions to be forced to accept a Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Years 2021-2025 without monetary increments at least for the start till the economy recovered. This meant that the opportunity to negotiate salary increments is open but those negotiations have not concluded at the time of writing this article.

The low salary increments have only been exacerbated by the directive to teachers to cover costs for the TPD.

According to Mutua, the Commission did not make any considerations that it used to decide on the cost per module available to teachers and other stakeholders in the education sector.

TSC directed teachers to cover the burden of Kshs. 6,000 for the TPD module without doing consultations with teachers and other stakeholders in the education sector.

The TPD was meant to improve the skills of teachers in public and private; primary, secondary and tertiary institutions across the country.

The Commission has 750,446 registered teachers with 341,760 employed under the Commission. 170,000 are registered teachers working in private schools. On the other hand, 238,686 teachers have registered but have not yet been employed under the Commission.

The legislators also revealed that the TPD program will cost Kshs. 4.5 billion to implement. However, only Kshs. 2 billion was allocated to the TPD program.

There was also concern among legislators as top universities and institutions did not bid despite having adequate infrastructure, good network, human resource capacity and the experience to effectively run the TPD program.

The following are the institutions that were selected to conduct the TPD training.

  • Mount Kenya University
  • Riara University
  • Kenyatta University
  • Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI)

According to Mutua, the TPD program should have been among the capacity-building programs for teachers on the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

The Commission’s dual role as a regulator and employer was also a bone of contention as the legislators suggested passing a new law and proposed changes on Article 237 of the Kenyan Consitution and the TSC Act to address the TSC’s role as a regulator and employer.

TSC, according to the Committee, has the constitutional and statutory mandate of being an employer and regulator as these powers are stipulated in Article 237 of the Kenyan Constitution and the TSC Act.

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