As a teacher employed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) you may find yourself on the wrong side of the TSC Code of Conduct and Regulations for teachers. You may be involved in an offence and is thus necessary that you understand the TSC discipline process for teachers.
THE TSC DISCIPLINE PROCESS
The discipline process begins in the institutions where teachers are based. To enhance quality teaching and learning, it is prudent that teacher managers, administrators/ supervisors are thoroughly conversant with the provisions of legal documents governing the conduct of teachers in the performance of their duties.
Administrators/ are expected to be more knowledgeable of these provisions in order to advise teachers appropriately.
REPORTING MECHANISM OF ALLEGATIONS AGAINST TEACHERS
Allegations of misconduct against teachers may be reported to any of the following administrative structures:
- The TSC Headquarters
- The TSC County Offices
- The Head of Institution
- The Board of Management
- Any government law enforcing agency.
- Non State actors dealing with Protection of the Child.
Any person who believes that a teacher’s conduct is un-professional may lodge a complaint in the following manner:-
- In writing, clearly indicating the nature of the complaint.
- In a case of a verbal complaint, the person to whom the report is made shall cause the complainant to record and sign a statement of complaint.
THE INVESTIGATION PROCESSES
Investigation is the examination, study, search for, tracking and gathering of factual information or establish the truth to ensure that miscarriage of justice is not done.
The Code of Regulations for teachers and the TSC Act 2012 mandates the Commission and Boards Of Management to investigate and assemble evidence.
Upon receiving a complaint about a teacher’s conduct, the Commission may proceed to investigate the matter as follows:
Where the allegation is made against a teacher
- The head of the institution in consultation with the BOM and the County Director, shall institute investigation to establish if the teacher has a case to answer or not.
- Where allegations made relate to an institution other than the one in which the teacher is stationed, both heads of institution, in consultation with the Board Of Management and the County Director(s), shall jointly conduct the necessary investigations.
Where the allegation is made against a head of institution:-
- The County Director, in liaison with the Board Of Management, shall institute investigation to establish the authenticity of the allegations.
- Where allegations made relate to an institution other than the one the administrator heads, the County Director(s), in liaison with the Board Of Management of the institutions involved shall conduct the investigations. County Director/Board Of Management in whose jurisdiction the teacher in question is stationed shall lead the investigation process.
THE STAGES OF THE INVESTIGATION PROCESS
i) Preliminary Stage/Initial Stage
The investigating officer records the Complaints as follows:-
- The name of the person who complained/reported, and his full identity i.e. His/her name, ID No. Age, place of birth, current residence, her date he/she reported., address/mobile numbers.
The Reporting Officer to record main points in summary as follows:-
- What happened? – allegation
- Where it happened? – place/crime scene.
- When it happened? (date, month, year and time)
- Who was involved – found out through investigations
- How did it happen? – found out through investigation
- Why did it happen? – found out through investigation
In case of sexual intercourse, the reporting party should ensure that the students/pupils, append their name, age signature, admission no./class. There is need for the officer to read the statement and be satisfied that it gives enough information to support the case/claim/ allegation leveled against the accused.
The recorded statement to be read back to her/him. The investigating officer to record that it was read out and both append their names, signature and identification number. This is to certify that the record is a true account.
In cases where the complainant can neither read nor write the investigating officer writes the oral evidence in the presence of a credible witness and both to append their signatures/thumb print.
Witnesses must record statements and append their names, signature, identification number, admission numbers, class and date. These too should read aloud to the witnesses and should be recorded that this was done in the presence of the witnesses.
Statements written in vernacular should be translated by a credible person who indicates and signs accordingly
Statements written for witnesses who can not write be acknowledged accordingly and read out to them before they thumb stamp.
ii) Interview/Inquiry/Hearing Stage
In Law the right to be heard fairly includes the following elements:-
- Giving sufficient time to the teacher to prepare his/her defence/case before the case is heard.
- Informing the teacher fully and clearly the charge or case against him/her.
During the hearing stage the following should be observed:-
- All adverse evidence be given in the presence of the teacher.
- All adverse evidence be made known to the teacher.
- The teacher be heard in person unless his conduct or the nature of offence makes it impossible for the proceedings to be conducted in his/her presence.
- The teacher be afforded fair opportunity to question or challenge the adverse evidence (cross examine the witnesses and call witnesses to testify against adverse evidence).
- In short no bias or hostility should be shown against the teacher.
iii) The Decision stage
During this stage the investigating panel should:-
- Never be unduly influenced by extraneous matters
- Not simply ignore without explanation the teacher’s defence.
- Arrive at a decision which appear reasonable (justified/unbiased).
- The investigating panel compiles a report/minutes indicating whether the teacher has a case to answer or not.
If the panel is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence of a breach of the Code by a teacher:-
- It recommends appropriate disciplinary action against the teacher; (warn or interdict)
- A teacher found guilty of minor professional misconduct after serving a show cause may be given a maximum of two administrative warnings and subsequent misconduct will lead to automatic interdiction.
- A teacher found guilty of major offences should be interdicted.
c) Where a teacher’s misconduct is as result of a medical condition, the BOM shall not interdict the teacher but shall investigate, assemble evidence and submit a report to the Commission for administrative action, which may include:
– Grant sick leave;
– Terminate services;
– Recommend his/her case to the Medical Board for assessment;
– Retire the teacher in public interest;
– Retire the teacher compulsorily;
THE TSC LETTER OF INTERDICTION.
The interdiction letter should be in the prescribed format as provided in the CORT
Only the designated TSC officers shall interdict. The Secretary to the Board shall only interdict after he/she has been authorized by a minute of the full BOM.
The interdiction letter should be forwarded to the TSC Headquarters with certified copies of all supportive documentary evidence and the investigation report/minutes of the BOM duly authenticated by the investigating officers should accompany it.
NB: The Commission has the discretion to undertake direct investigation or re-investigate into any allegations as it may deem necessary.
THE TSC PROCESS OF INTERDICTION
The Commission/TSC County Director/BOM:
- On receiving allegations against a teacher, conduct investigation and assemble evidence to establish whether the teacher has a case to answer or not.
- Will invite and interview the teacher and witnesses (if any) except for desertion cases.
- If satisfied that the teacher has a case to answer, serve the teacher with a letter of interdiction on the form prescribed in the Code of Regulations for Teachers specifying the actual allegations made against him/her.
- Send a copy of interdiction letter to the Secretary TSC/County Director attaching all the relevant documentary evidence.
- Ensure that the interdicted teacher/head teacher clears and leaves the institution and institution house (where applicable) within 48 hours upon receiving the letter of interdiction.
- A teacher shall be paid half salary during the period of interdiction except in the following cases:
– chronic absenteeism
– having been jailed or held in legal custody
– misappropriation or mismanagement of public funds
– fraudulent claims and receipt of funds
-use of false certificates
– forgery, impersonation, collusion; and
– immoral behaviour.