Thousands of teachers from four sub counties are warming up for possible changes in their salaries after receiving favourable review from the just concluded data collection exercise.
Teachers from Nyando, Chonyi, Lungalunga and Suba might soon smile to the bank as the government is set to implement recommendations from teams that collected data on hardship regions.
However the payment can only be done after the official new hardship areas are gazetted and a budget is passed to capture the new areas.
Though more sub counties had favourable remarks, the four had overwhelming support with some teams recommending specific zones and schools where the payment should be done.
In Lungalunga sub county for example the team recommended the whole of Mwereni zone to be captured and seven schools in Lungalunga zone to be added as hardship areas.
On 5th September last year the Principal Secretary for Interior Services dispatched five teams for a countrywide data collection exercise aimed to review hardship areas for public service employees.
The teams each with representatives drawn from Ministry of Public Service and Gender, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Ministry of Education, The National Treasury and Planning, Public Service Commission, Teachers Service Commission, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Council of Governors, Commission on Revenue Allocation, Salaries and Remuneration Commission and The Judiciary were sent to various counties to collect data to inform on new hardship areas.
The exercise was a second phase after the Technical Committee completed the first phase during the 2020/2021 financial year.
According to the PS the Technical Committee undertook phase I of the exercise during the 2020/21 financial.
However, owing to financial constraints, phase II of the exercise could not be undertaken to finalize the exercise in the same year.
Team 1 which comprised of 8 officers visited Lamu, Kilifi and Kwale counties from 5th to 17th September 2021.
The team also visited two additional areas of Chonyi in Kilifi county and Lungalunga in Kwale county with a view to include them in hardship areas.
Team 2 which comprised of 10 officers visited Laikipia, Meru North (Nyambene), Tharaka Nithi (Tharaka, Marimanti) and Nyandarua (Nyahururu) from 5th to 17th September 2021.
Team 3 which comprised of 8 officers visited West Pokot, Turkana, Elgeyo-Marakwet and Baringo.
This team also visited four additional areas of Suba, Nyatike, Seme and Tinderet with a view to include them for hardship allowance payments.
This team visited the said areas starting from 25th October to 5th November 2021.
Team 4 which comprised of 7 officers visited Garissa, Wajir and Mandera counties from 25th October to 5th November 2021.
This team will also visited Kitui North (Mutha), Kitui South (Endau and Malalani), Kitui East and Mwingi North (Kaningo) and Kalama.
Team 5, the last team, visited Murang’a (Kakuzi, Maragua), Kiambu (Ndeiya) and Nakuru (Mbogoni and Makongeni) and Nyeri (Kieni).
Team 5 visited the said regions from 25th October to 5th November 2021.
The teams interviewed teachers, Curriculum Support Officers (CSOs), public servants and residents of the areas they visited as they collected real time data on condition of the areas.
The PS had ordered County Directors of Education, TSC County Directors and Officers incharge of Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in County’s to assist the teams with valuable data and input towards achieving the objectives of the survey.
Two years ago the World Bank asked Kenya to scrap hardship allowance to save Sh3 billion as part of cost-cutting measures to return the country on track after increased spending during the coronavirus pandemic.
The World Bank argued that public officers enjoying the hefty allowances work in areas categorized as hardship decades ago, but have since developed and no longer qualify for the tag.
“The review of hardship zones is needed as several regions have developed their infrastructure and social amenities over the last two decades and are no longer classified hardship areas,” the World Bank report on Kenya Public Expenditure Review reads.
There are fears that some areas will be scrapped off from hardship allowance payment after official recommendations are issued to the government to implement.
Two months ago the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary general Collins Oyuu, assured teachers in hardship areas that they will continue enjoying their allowances.
Oyuu said TSC has no mandate to list or delist hardship regions.
Oyuu clarified that the areas listed in the recently signed CBA are only hard to staff despite them being hardship areas and should not be interpreted as new hardship areas.
He reiterated that what the TSC has done is to list the hard to staff areas and maintained that they are putting administrators on acting capacity regardless of their grade, who will continue to serve in those administrative positions in the hard to staff areas until they attain their respective grades for confirmation.
“Those areas are hardship but hard to staff, meaning, even positions of Headtechers and Deputies nobody is ready to be there, and those who are there are not even qualified for those positions in terms of what we have in the CBA,” said Oyuu.
“They are promoted to act in those positions because those areas are hard to staff and nobody is willing to go there,” he added.
Oyuu added that what TSC is looking at is the interest an individual teacher has in line with serving under acting capacity of administration in those areas prior to ones grade until when the teacher attains the full grade of administrator for full confirmations of the position the teacher was acting before.
He reiterated that the hardship allowances are still there for teachers serving in those areas, and TSC has no mandate whatsoever to gazette or de-gazette a hardship area since that mandate has been given to the Public Service Commission, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National government and Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
His sentiments were echoed by his KUSNET counterpart James Torome who said that teachers should not push for things which are not there since the areas listed in the 2021-2025 CBA only refers to administrators who are serving in the hard to staff areas and who have not qualified to hold those positions.
That clause was talking of administrators who are serving in Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) and hard to staff areas and not qualified to hold the administrative positions. So they are going to continue holding those positions until the time they will qualify and continue serving in those stations,” stated Torome.
Torome added that the areas listed in the CBA should not be taken as the new hardship areas since the hardship areas were not reviewed and teachers continue getting their hardship allowances.
KUPPET Deputy Secretary General Moses Nthurima also maintained that TSC has no powers to remove or add any area from the list of hardship area, since that mandate has been given to different government Ministries.
TSC and three teachers unions which represented primary school teachers, post primary school teachers and teachers working in special schools agreed in a deal that led to signing of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2021 – 2025.
In the agreement TSC together with Knut (Kenya National Union of Teachers), Kuppet (Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers) and Kusnet (Kenya Union of Special Need Education Teachers) listed eighteen areas as the official hardship areas.
The official ASAL and Hard to staff areas approved and included in the CBA are;
1) Baringo North; Tiaty East, Tiaty West and Marigat sub-counties in Baringo County.
2) Garissa County
3) Suba and Mbita sub-counties in Homa Bay County
4) Isiolo County
5) Mashuuru, Loitoktok and Kajiado West sub-counties in Kajiado County
6) Kwale County
7) Magarini and Ganze in Kilifi County
8) Lamu County
9) Mandera County
10) Marsabit County
11)Mumoni, Mutito North and Tseikuru sub-counties in Kitui County
12) Narok South and Narok North sub-counties in Narok County
13) Samburu County
14) Taita Taveta County
15) Tana River County
16) Turkana County
17) Wajir County
18) West Pokot County
Below is the hardship allowance payment structure for teachers as captured in CBA 2021 – 2025
Grade Hardship Allowance p.m