The Teachers Service Commission, TSC, will be forced to operate with six Commissioners after the contract of three of its nine Commissioners expired this year; forcing them to exit. First to exit was Commission Vice Chair Cleopas Tirop whose term expired in May this year. Mr Tirop who was appointed in April 2013 exited after serving his six year-non-renewable term. Two other commissioners – Dr Salome Gichura and Saada Abdi Kontoma – left the Commission, this month; August, 2019.
“We will always remember the three commissioners for spearheading TSC innovations and re-engineering of service delivery,” said Dr Lydia Nzomo, TSC chairperson; at a luncheon hosted in honor of the retired commissioners |(Dr Salome Gichura, Cleopas Tirop and Saadia Kontoma) at Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi, early this month.
There is no cause for alarm, though, because for the commissioners to conduct business, a quorum of three out of a maximum nine Commissioners is required. The Commissioners exit at a time when there is a frosty relationship between the Commission and the Kenya National Union of Teachers, knut.
The commissioners are in charge of appointing and appraising school heads or confirming those working in acting capacity, promoting teachers, hearing and determining disciplinary cases. They also approve budgets and formulate policies.
Under Article 237(2) of the Constitution, the Commission is mandated to perform the following functions:
1. Register trained teachers,
2. Recruit and employ registered teachers,
3. Assign teachers employed by the Commission for service in any public school or institution,
4. Promote and transfer teachers,
5. Exercise disciplinary control over teachers,
6. Terminate the employment of teachers,
7. Review the standards of education and training of persons entering the teaching service,
8. Review the demand for and supply of teachers and
9. Advise the national government on matters relating to the teaching profession
President Uhuru Kenyatta will now be expected to constitute a selection panel to recruit new commissioners. A person shall be qualified for appointment as a member if such a person holds a degree from a university recognized in Kenya, and has knowledge and experience of at least 10 years in matters relating to education, governance, management and law.
The Commission is currently chaired by Dr Lydia Nzomo who took her oath of office on 9th December 2014, marking the beginning of her six years term as the Chairperson of TSC as a Constitutional Commission.
The Commission shall now remain with 6 Commissioners. The five other Commissioners (apart from Dr Lydia Nzomo) are Barrack Said Twahir, Kinoti Imanyara, Tache Bonsa Gollo, Beatrice Marembo Adu and Albert Fred Ekirapa. The five were appointed members of the Teachers Service Commission on 20th March 2015.
TEACHERS ROOTING FOR SLOTS AT THE COMMISSION’S BOARD
Teachers through their unions have asked the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua to ensure they get seats on the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) board. Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) are seeking to be allocated slots as the terms of the current Commissioners come to an end.
“Teachers union should be allowed to nominate at least two commissioners to ensure that trade movement maximizes interaction with TSC for the harmonious negotiation of terms,” read in part, a memo by knut Secretary General Hon Wilson Sossion to Mr Kinyua; dated 15th July, 2019.
It remains to be seen if indeed the teachers will get slots at the Commission Board.