Members of Parliament now want the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to draft legal documents that will allow the government to pay fees for tutors.
Each of the 340,000 teachers is required to take mandatory professional courses that will help them advance in their career.
This refresher courses, known as Teacher Professional Development (TPD), have been divided into chapters and will be offered once a year for a fee of Sh6,000This means that over the course of a teacher’s career, he or she will be required to take five modules, which will cost around Sh180,000.
Members of the National Assembly Education Committee chastised TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia for failing to include the funds as a budgetary requirement.
MPs want Macharia to explain how the training fees were calculated, arguing that even school and university fees are highly regulated.
“We want to know why TSC has not factored in this money in its budget statement so that it can be an independent budget line funded by the government,” said Florence Mutua, chairperson of the committee.
MPs asked Macharia to draft and submit a legal framework that would allow the government to pay for the training costs. She had testified in front of MPs to defend TSC budget requirements.
MPs contended that all levies are set by Parliament and demanded to know the formula used by TSC to cap training fees. According to Macharia, the TPD is legally enshrined in Section 35(2)(a) of the TSC Act.According to Macharia, Regulation 49(1) states that the commission must issue a teaching certificate to any teacher who successfully completes a professional teacher development program.
Furthermore, under Regulation 49 (3), a teacher who fails to complete the program will have his or her registration certificate suspended until the teacher obtains the teaching certificate.
This means that all teachers will be required to take TPD in order to keep their jobs.
TSC chose Kenyatta university(KU), Riara University, Mount. Kenya university (MKU), and the Kenya Education management Institute KEMI to train teachers through a competitive process.
The TPD program will be implemented during the school holidays of April, August, and December.The courses, which will be modular in nature, will be delivered both online and in-person.
The introductory module, according to the plan, will be completed online. The first module will provide teachers with Professional Teaching Standards.
The introductory module consists of five chapters that should be completed within a year.
Omboko Milemba, chairman of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), believes the money should be paid by the state through TSC.
Although continuous training sharpens skills, Kuppet and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) argue that the cost should be borne by the employer.“We are keen on ensuring that the employer foots the bills for training either fully or cost are shares with the teachers. This is because these skills are designed to benefit the employer as much as they will benefit the employee,” said Knut boss Collins Oyuu.
MPs have also asked the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to prepare legal documents that will facilitate the government to pay annual refresher training fees for tutors.
Wilson Sossion, a nominated MP, stated during a national assembly education committee hearing on the budget policy statement that the burden should be shifted to the government.
According to Sossion, most teachers have struggled to raise the necessary funds to enroll in the modules.
“This should not be a teacher’s problem, why has the commission not included TPD development in their budget?” Sossion said.
According to the former KNUT secretary general, the program demotivates teachers and should be reconsidered.
Sossion wondered which statute imposes the cost of TPD on teachers noting that TPD will forever be a source of contention.
The Kenya National Teachers Pressure Group (KNTPG) has been urging primary and secondary school teachers in the country to oppose the Teachers’ professional development program.The union officials discouraged more than 350,000 teachers from enrolling in the Teacher Professional Development course (TPD), which is a 30-year learning process.
“By the end of the 30 years, teachers going through the TPD course will have parted with Sh180,000 not to mention the examinations fee
plus transport, food and accommodation which comes to a total of more than Sh500,000,” said KNTPG organising secretary, Anne Wanyoike.
She argues that the financier of TPD should be their employer, TSC, in accordance with the code of regulations for teachers, regulation 51c, which states that the employer, TSC, is supposed to facilitate TPD.
“There is no way you can take the salaries of your employees and demand that you take them for an in-service course using their own money, this is unheard of,” she said.
The unionist urged TSC to work on the modality and make sure it was the financier for TPD.
She also questioned TPD’s eligibility, wondering how someone who was about to retire could be expected to go on a 30-year training course.
Wanyoike noted that the course was housed at institutions where many teachers had previously trained, but TSC rejected their Diplomas, Degrees, and Masters on the grounds that they were not recognized.According to the TSC boss, the program is a stand-alone project that requires a separate budget to be factored in.