The teachers service commission has perfected the art of using teachers especially those seeking for employment opportunities. Ever since the big win by teachers in the new Collective Bargain Agreement CBA thanks to the effort by the teachers umbrella bodies KNUT and KUPPET that saw teachers start getting a salary increment, TSC has been avoiding the cost associated with hiring trained and qualified teachers on permanent basis. Not forgetting that the CBA is yet to be fully implemented.
In what was termed as a short term solution to address the shortage of teachers in our schools due to high enrollment, the hiring of teachers on short term contact turned to be the new normal by the employer. The unfortunate reality is that this qualified teachers yield to this kind of humiliation as they end up being paid peanuts and their pay is still subject to statutory deductions.
In 2015 following a long teachers strike called for by KNUT and KUPPET that lasted for 5 weeks, TSC advertised, on September 29, to recruit some 70,000-relief teachers for a period of three months. 50,000 of these were to be hired to teach in primary schools while the other 20,000 posts were for post primary schools.
Teachers who were enrolled in the program would end up earning as low as Sh.10,000 for primary teachers and Sh.15,000 for secondary school teachers.
To add salt on the wound, the contract would see the relief teachers serve for a period of 3 months before they were again rendered jobless. Many teachers who had signed up for the relief teachers program had hoped to be employed on permanent terms at the end of their contract but this would later turn to be a mirage.
TSC would hit back again in 2019 and announced the recruitment of 10,300 teachers on internship program in the name of meeting the government requirement of student to teacher ratio in both primary and secondary schools. The internship program would see teachers serve for a period of one year ending 2020.
With the period of 1 year having elapsed, TSC has again made an announcement on 1st December 2020 to recruit over 6000 teachers on internship program for a period of one year. This is despite TSC having asked teachers to apply for fresh recruitment and replacement of teachers two months ago, an exercise that resulted in massive turn up in recruitment centres. The shocking part is that only 5000 posts for recruitment and about 6000 posts for replacement were up for grab despite the massive teacher shortage in our schools.
Why TSC is avoiding to hire teachers on permanent basis
Having tested the waters in 2015 following the recruitment of teachers on relief program, TSC actually realized it can save a lot by avoiding the permanent employment puzzle.
With TSC having taken a decision to de-localize teachers, the need to pay transport and housing allowances ballooned the employer budget. TSC also found itself between a hard place and a rock following the CBA signed with KNUT and KUPPET following the CBA tussle, this made TSC to rethink its strategies.
Despite the billion that are allocated to the education ministry each year, TSC has in the recent past adapted new ways to avoid huge expenditures by strangling trained teachers who wish to get TSC jobs.
TSC cat and mouse game
With so many teachers coming out of colleges each year TSC knows well that most of them are desperate forthe few TSC vacancies that are available each time there is a recruitment exercise. To lure these fresh teachers into TSC game, the employer decided to offer them a rather unfavorable terms to work on a short term contract with a promise they will have an added advantage over their peers when it comes to permanent employment recruitment exercise.
Currently whenever TSC announces a recruitment exercise, candidates who have served under internship program are awarded 10 extra points according to the latest recruitment formula score sheet. This promise is what drives unemployed teachers who have sought for TSC employment some for the last 10 years to bow to TSC internship terms with a promise of increasing their chances to secure TSC permanent and pensionable jobs.
In the current 21st century, its time TSC stopped taking teachers seeking employment opportunities for a ride. To win the game TSC has used all avenues possible to crippled the largest teachers Union KNUT leaving teachers voiceless. With this trend on the rise, who will stand up for the teachers in this country?