, NAIROBI, July 20 – The Teachers Service Commission Sunday appeared to backtrack on its earlier hard stand on teachers’ performance contracts and instead proposed a country wide sensitisation of the document before the actual signing.
The Commission’s Secretary Gabriel Lengoiboni on Sunday said teachers should not be forced to sign the agreement with the government before proper discussions have been carried out.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the principal employer of teachers in the country, also invited the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to discuss the advancement of the plan in the education sector.
“KNUT should be brought on board with other partners in education over the matter so as to help teachers understand the purpose of the performance contracting in the service.” he said.
KNUT has taken a hard line stand, strongly opposing the signing of performance contracts forwarded by the Government to teachers.
Union Secretary General Francis Ng’ang’a on Saturday challenged the state to offer workable supervision measures.
“Teachers have been working under detailed working schemes, if there is any failure, or no improvement in the education system in the country the blame is squarely on the Government( through Ministry of Education) and TSC,” he said.
On Friday Prime Minister (PM) Raila Odinga insisted that teachers must sign the performance contracts.
While presiding over the signing of this year’s performance contracts for ministries, Odinga moved to assure teachers that the agreements were only meant to set targets that would ensure efficiency in the education sector, and not to replace their current employment contracts.
However, the KNUT boss was adamant that the teachers were not consulted over the new agreements and insisted that any improvement of education sector should be channelled through improving supervisory mechanisms to enhance delivery of education services.
Introducing a whole new debate to the performance contracting issue, the KNUT boss said the teachers force had been working under strict and detailed working schemes.
“Teachers have been performing, through lesson notes, schemes of work, clearing the syllabus all this detailed information is supervised by the heads of different institutions as a testimony that teachers have performed on their desired standards,” he posed
Teachers Service Union had earlier warned that those who do not append their signatures would be sacked.
KNUT holds the view that the Ministry of Education and TSC should sign the performance contracts on behalf of the education sector, and in turn act as a regulator and provide for smooth running of the sector.
With the new consideration from the commission, the debate over whether teachers should sign the performance contracts or not has been shifted to a new level and could be resolved as soon as the stakeholders in the sector converge and agree on a way forward.
Meanwhile, the Government on Sunday initiated the first step towards recruitment of over 14,000 teachers after carrying advertisements in local dailies for the slots.
There is an acute shortage of teachers in the country. It is estimated that the country lacks 14,000 teachers in both primary and secondary schools. The problem has been occasioned by retirement, failure by the Government to employ new teachers over a long period of time, death, imbalance in staffing caused by TSC as a result of irregular transfer of teachers.
Kenyan education is based on an 8-4-4 system: eight years in primary school, four years in secondary and four in tertiary education.