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Ask your Question: Nancy Macharia

In this interactive series, we invite our readers to send in questions to select public figures. This week, Nancy Macharia, the chief executive officer of the Teachers Service Commission, responds to your questions.

What plans do you have to assist the interdicted teachers whose cases have taken more than a year without being given a hearing by the TSC? These teachers’ salaries were stopped yet they have children in school and other dependants. Isn’t this against the concerned teachers’ constitutional rights?

Marogo Peter, Nyamira

The commission has decentralised processing of cases on professional misconduct to the regional level. This has greatly reduced the number of pending cases. Cases of desertion and absenteeism are already being determined at county level. We will endeavour to finalise cases expeditiously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is the TSC and director of pensions not facilitating payments to teachers who retired between the period 1997 and 2002 in total disregard of a court order directing the pay to be effected without delay?

Andrew Maranga Ratemo, Malindi 

In 2016, the High Court directed on the modalities of submitting pension claims of teachers who retired between 1998 and 2003 to the Treasury and the payment process. The court ordered that teachers who retired in 1998 be paid first. Thereafter, the 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 retirees to follow in that order. The TSC has fully complied by processing and submitting claims to the National Treasury for payment. We are aware that the National Treasury has been paying out the claims.

I am in Nyeri Central Sub-County but I have learnt that teachers in neighbouring schools within the same zone or sub-county are earning different rates of house allowance. Why can’t TSC harmonise these allowances?

John Mworia, Nyeri

Before July 2015, teachers were paid house allowance based on two tiers; Nairobi city and other areas. With effect from July 1, 2015 the Salaries and Remuneration Commission reviewed house allowance rates based on four tier regions in order to harmonise house allowance for teachers and civil servants. These rates apply across the civil service, teaching service and counties. The four categories are: Nairobi, former major municipalities, former minor municipalities, other areas.

Education Cabinet Secretary promised to crack down on teachers who are not registered with TSC. This promise has not been fulfilled and TSC has not taken action against institutions that employ quacks. Why?

Bashir. O. Nuru, Nairobi

The TSC Act Section 23 (2) provides that “A person shall not engage in the teaching service unless such a person is registered as a teacher.” The commission has issued a circular directing that all schools must only engage teachers who are registered by the TSC. School Boards of Management have been cautioned against employing teachers who may have been deregistered. The requirements on teacher registration are intended to ensure learners are taught by qualified teachers. It is indeed the gateway to quality education.

What is the commission doing to teachers who engage in other businesses like opening their own schools while still on TSC payroll?

Charles Muchiri, Nairobi

Charles Muchiri, Nairobi

The commission has put in place measures to guard against conflict of interest in accordance with Chapter Six of the Constitution and the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Teachers. From January 2016, all heads of institutions were put on Performance Contract while teachers are assessed through the Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development (TPAD). This ensures that performance of all teachers is closely monitored and cases of conflict of interest addressed.

Which is the criterion used in transferring headteachers or teachers?

While transferring teachers, including heads of institutions, the commission takes into account the need for equitable distribution and optimal utilisation of teachers. Other factors include availability of vacancies and length of stay. Transfers can also be necessitated by personal requests, promotion and deployment of teachers and institutional administrators.

What is the long-term plan for those teachers employed by various school boards?

Charles Muchiri, Nairobi

The commission advertises vacancies in public learning institutions and all interested and qualified teachers, including those serving under Boards of Management, are free to apply.

Why has TSC frozen all transfers to Nairobi schools with the requirement that you, as the chief executive, must approve such requests in person?

Paul Katoosei, Kajiado

Most schools in Nairobi are well staffed compared to the rest of the country. The commission endeavours to staff all schools equitably for effective curriculum delivery. All officers in TSC perform their duties on behalf of the Secretary or chief executive. It is worth noting that Nairobi attracts many transfer requests as a result of socio-economic factors.

I would like to know why, since introduction of Integrated Personnel and Payroll Database (IPPD) system in 2007 to manage teachers’ payroll, TSC does not deduct 15 per cent of the value of the insurance premiums, when calculating Pay As You Earn for teachers who are saving for their retirement and education of their children.

Jackline Ivita, Wote, Makueni

Jackline Ivita, Wote, Makueni

Jackline Ivita, Wote, Makueni

Currently the commission’s payroll system is not configured to award tax relief on insurance and employees usually apply for tax rebate from the Kenya Revenue Authority. The commission is, however, exploring modalities for implementation of insurance relief on the payroll.

Why do we have recurrent breakdowns of the TSC computer systems and websites when teachers are filling the TPAD.

Mostly it is as a result of heavy traffic since a majority of the teachers wait to capture data close to the deadline. We advise teachers to fill in details within the timelines to avoid a last minute rush which constrains the system. TSC is upgrading its ICT infrastructure to improve efficiency.

How much of interference do you encounter from the political class in transfer of teachers?

Githuku Mungai

Transfer of teachers is free from interference by “big shots”. TSC acts strictly within the law. TSC is guided by its policies and regulations in discharging its mandate.

 

It is so disheartening to see some former teachers like my dad ailing yet he cannot afford better treatment because the commission is withholding his dues. Why can’t your commission resolve the issue of retired teachers’ pension pay once and for all?

Les Mathenge

The commission appreciates the service offered by teachers who have retired and takes very seriously its role in processing their pension claims. We endeavour to process and submit retirees’ claims to the Director of Pensions within a month upon receipt of all the relevant documents. Although the commission sensitises teachers approaching retirement age on retirement matters, there are instances of late submission of documents. This delays processing of pension dues. In other cases, TSC is unable to process retirement claims within the timeline because of late submission of income tax clearance certificate, Helb clearance certificate and bank details. Mr Mathenge, you may want to provide the details of your father for a specific response to his case.

What is TSC doing to address the widening salary disparity among teachers? 

Shadrack Mwangi, Nairobi

The 2017-2021 CBA signed between the commission and teachers’ unions provides for career development which takes into account higher qualifications attained by teachers.

I have been following the issue of payments to retired teachers. Despite court orders that they be paid, nothing materialises. Is it not your mandate to fight for the retired teachers?

Paul Kariuki, Nakuru

The commission has put in place measures to ensure full compliance with the ruling on pension benefits for teachers who retired between 1998 and 2003. We have been making follow-up and are aware that many of the claims have been paid. I urge the retirees who are entitled to this award and who have not received their dues to be patient as TSC and the Director of Pension are working on the same.

Can one obtain a TSC number on the basis of a letter of completion from the university as s/he awaits graduation? If so, what is the procedure?

Kelvin Wachira, Nakuru

A teacher can only be registered on the basis of academic and professional certificates from recognised institutions and not a letter of completion. The conditions for registration are provided for in the Code of Regulations for Teachers. Application for registration as a teacher is on-line through the TSC website; www.tsc.go.ke.

How long does one have to wait before being employed by TSC? I have been waiting since 2009 (TSC number 541595)?

John Kivaa Mutua, Kitui

Recruitment of teachers is guided by guidelines that provide objective criteria for scoring to ensure transparency and accountability. There are clearly laid-down procedures to address any complaints arising from recruitment. Before the start of any recruitment the following telephone numbers are published for use by aggrieved applicants or members of the public 0202892193, 0202892135 or 0202892132.

According to the recently signed CBA, secondary school principals are expected to move to grade D3 and above but TSC recently conducted interviews for principals to be promoted from job group M to N. How will the results of these promotions blend with the provisions within the CBA?

John Thiongo, Thika

The on-going promotions for Job groups K, M and N will be effected before June 30, 2017. Those promoted will then convert to the new grading structure with effect from July 1, 2017. The other teachers will convert from their current grades to the corresponding grades in the new structure. Comprehensive information on the new grading structure and the conversion modalities will be communicated to teachers and other stakeholders in a circular. Either way, all the 305,000 teachers will benefit from increased salaries from July 1, 2017.

A one time respectable profession, where part of the elite are drawn from, has been characterised by acts such as demonstrations in the streets. What, from your point of view, has prompted this?

Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi

TSC is working with other organisations such as teachers associations, unions and other stakeholders to uphold dignity of the teaching profession. Indeed, in the CBAs signed between the TSC and teachers’ unions, the parties committed themselves to discourage any actions “that may erode the dignity of the profession.”

I was promoted to job group M from L in 2008. Unfortunately my salary has not been adjusted to date. For how long should I wait to get my money?

Rahab Wairimu, Nakuru

I wish to apologise Rahab for the delay. A mix-up of records delayed adjustment of your salary. Action has been taken and your salary has been adjusted.

TSC has not been recognising enhanced teacher certificates from 2014 yet teachers go to great lengths to enhance their certificates to enable them better understand learners who have become very dynamic in today’s classroom. Madam, teachers feel oppressed by TSC regarding this.

Anne Muthoni, Kirinyaga

Promotion of teachers is provided for in the Code of Regulations for Teachers and is based on the Schemes of Service subject to, among other things, existence of a vacancy in the authorised establishment. The commission has continued to promote teachers who attain higher qualifications in line with the budgetary allocation and availability of vacancies. Indeed, this month TSC promoted 500 headteachers and deputies with Bachelor of Education degrees. Further, in line with the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreements signed with and teachers’ unions the commission is in the process of developing career guidelines for teachers which will take into account qualifications attained by teachers.

Madam, if a teacher is recruited, the appointment letter comes two or three months after the interviews and during this time the recruits will have been posted and working without pay. Why is payment not done from interview date like other professions?

Muthamia Nathan

Teachers selected during the recruitment at the county or institutional levels are appointed after a thorough vetting process at the TSC headquarters to ensure adherence to the recruitment guidelines. It should be noted that the reporting date for appointed teachers is indicated in the Letter of Offer of Employment. One can only report to an institution to start work after receiving the letter of appointment and not earlier.

The promotion of teachers who had attained higher qualifications was suspended indefinitely from January 8, 2014. It is not only painful but demoralizing to ignore this issue because it shows that the employer disregards teachers’ career progression. What measures have TSC put into place to cater for these cases?

Charles Mugendi, Siaya

As I have explained above, promotion of teachers is largely determined by availability of vacancy in the approved establishment. The 2017-2021 CBA provides for career development which takes into account higher qualifications attained by teachers.

Sometimes back, TSC teachers serving in TVET institutions, were asked to apply to be vetted by TIVETA with a view to determine their suitability to continue teaching in these institutions. Since then, no feedback has been forthcoming. Madam, what became of this process?

Komen Moris, Eldoret

Komen Moris, Eldoret

The suitability application was initiated by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. TSC will give directions once the Ministry communicates the outcome of the vetting.

In the past week or so, CS Education Dr Fred Matiang’i received a task force report on the arson cases witnessed in our schools last year. Being a major stakeholder, has the report indicted teachers in these unfortunate cases? What deterrent measures will the commission pursue?

The commission will make a follow-up after studying the report. As the Cabinet Secretary for Education Dr Fred Matiang’i noted, some of the recommendations have been implemented. Action has already been taken on individuals who were implicated in the fire incidents in accordance with the law.

Why has TSC not sent P9 forms to teachers for the tax year ended December 31, 2016?

The Commission distributed soft copies of P9 forms in April 2017 to all TSC county offices for printing and distribution to teachers in their respective counties.

Madam, what is the reason for teachers to have two medical covers yet the NHIF contribution was increased?

Nathan Mitheu, Chuka 

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is a statutory contribution established through an Act of Parliament and all employees are by law required to contribute to the fund through monthly deductions from salary or other remuneration. The employer has an obligation to deduct and remit the contribution on behalf of the employee. The contributions were increased with effect from April 2015 to a minimum of Sh600 and a maximum of Sh1,700. NHIF has two distinct covers: National Cover and Civil Servants Scheme. Under the civil servants scheme, all civil servants under Directorate of Personnel Management (DPM) are covered under this scheme. This is an enhanced, fully comprehensive medical cover that has the following benefits: Comprehensive Outpatient, Inpatient, Dental, Maternity, Optical and Last Expense. This is because Treasury provides additional funding in terms of premium on top of the civil servants monthly contributions which is submitted to NHIF on a yearly basis. All TSC secretariat staff and teachers are covered under the National Cover where a monthly contribution of between Sh600 to Sh1,700 is remitted to NHIF on a monthly basis. Only inpatient bed limits and surgical procedures are covered under this. Members are required to register with one hospital which offers the outpatient service. Dental, maternity, optical and inpatient admissions are not covered. Since the National Cover is not sufficient, the commission procured a comprehensive medical insurance cover for the teachers to ensure teachers reap maximum benefits. Thus, the two schemes complement one another for the benefit of the teachers.

I am deputy principal and I have stayed in Job Group ‘M’ for more than eight years. Sometime back, I was shortlisted for interviews for Job Group ‘N’ before the interviews were postponed. By the time the interviews were being done I discovered to my utter surprise that I was not shortlisted. What could have happened yet TSC did not invite new applications?

Dixon Gichohi Ngure, Mwea

Unfortunately, like several other applicants you applied in a wrong advert number which was meant for principals, instead of applying in Advert 18/2016 which was meant for non-principals.

I cleared college back in 2008 but to date I have not been employed by TSC. Why has it taken that long? Madam, the new system of considering age plus the points one garnered is disadvantaging some of us. Please do something about it.

Olivia Musyoka, Kitui (TSC No. 549749)

The Commission issues recruitment guidelines that ensure transparency and accountability in the recruitment process. The age criterion is intended to ensure some teachers are not locked out of employment on account of age limit.

I do appreciate the commission’s commitment to promote teachers more so the latest group of 10,000 teachers starting May 2017. However this number is considerably small compared to the large number of teachers who have stagnated in same job groups for quite too long. What is the fate of primary school teachers who had attained Diploma and Degree qualifications and have not been promoted from P1 status since January 2014? Will they remain P1 forever?

Shadrack Odeny, Nairobi

The CBA signed between the commission and the teachers’ unions will be implemented from July 1, 2017 and has provided for a clear career path that recognizes higher qualifications and performance. This will not only address the issues of stagnation but also ensure effective curriculum implementation. Moreover, the P1 grade will become obsolete and all teachers in the grade moved a job group higher.

The manner in which transfer of teachers was carried out early this year in Makuyu zone (Murang’a County) leaves a lot to be desired. We saw a number of innocent teachers being moved from Makuyu which is a hardship area to far flung zones of Muranga County ostensibly to counter a huge workforce that had overcrowded the area in the recent past. Why didn’t the LIFO (Last in First Out) procedure apply appropriately?

Mwangi DM, Maragua

The commission carries out staff balancing from time across the country for equitable distribution of teachers in order to achieve optimal utilization. In the case of Makuyu, the re-distribution was intended to correct an imbalance where one zone had an inordinately large number of staff at the expense of other areas within the county. Many factors such as age, health and length of stay are considered during the rationalisation exercise.

Madam, I am a teacher in Thika West District who recently won the Kiambu County Teacher of the Year Award (TOYA). I was excited that finally through KEPSHA and then TSC, ordinary teachers who make extraordinary strides in the classroom would be recognized. Sadly, due to what I understand is lack of funds, the winning teachers will not proceed beyond the regional level. Kindly consider promotion of these teachers to the next job group as this will motivate members of the teaching fraternity.

Lydia Kinyanjui, Thika

Thank you Lydia for the passion you have demonstrated in your teaching duties. TSC and the Kenya Primary School Heads Association (KEPSHA) are keen to recognize teachers who perform exemplarily and a reward system is being developed. Certainly, your commitment will ultimately count for a lot.

Now that TSC has promoted all A-level P1 teachers to job group L in previous years, what are you doing to make sure that those P1 teachers with grade B and above in their KCSE also benefit?

Timothy Mukhwana

A’ level cannot be equated to KCSE B grade. For this reason, promotions based on ‘A’ level qualification cannot be extended to P1 KCSE B grade holders.

What is the commission doing to stop the rampant corruption, especially among the field officers who have to be bribed for promotion and transfers among others? As teachers we fear reporting the same due to fear of victimisation.

Maina wa Mwangi, Narok

The use of ‘rampant’ is obviously an overstatement. Whenever allegations of corruption are reported, the commission conducts investigations and if a case is proved, firm action is taken against culprits. This includes summary dismissal. The commission has two committees that investigate corruption cases. Fighting corruption requires concerted efforts. Teachers and members of the public are encouraged to report corruption either anonymously (but give factual evidence) or call 0202892419 0202892421, 0202892425 or email [email protected]

One can also visit Integrity Division at the TSC Headquarters Ground Floor (Podium) to register a complaint. Lately we have regularly cautioned teachers and members of the public against fraudsters and conmen who purport to be in a position to influence promotion or employment. It is disturbing that some teachers and members of the public send money through Mpesa to conmen they have never met. The commission works closely with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to rout out the fraudsters.

I have been wondering why you give TVET institutions very few employment slots. I am also concerned about some courses that are rarely advertised for employment slots, especially the library and information studies area. This area has been neglected for a long time and it is really posing a threat to the profession. For instance many tutors including myself have waited for as long as ten years only to have five posts advertised last year which is a drop in the ocean. Is this really fair madam?

Salome Namiti Nasimiyu, Kitale

Advertisement of vacancies in learning institutions is done proportionate to the number of institutions. The commission is required to staff more than 20,600 primary schools, 8,400 secondary schools, 71 TIVET institutions and 25 teacher training colleges. Allocation of vacancies is, therefore, done proportionately to the shortage in the respective sub-sectors. Even in subject allocation, there is need to prioritise depending on the demand.

I have tried to follow up on disability allowance at TSC headquarters of two blind teachers (TSC Nos. 254800 and 150889) on five occasions yet no action has ever been taken. Who can save us from this madam?

Muthanga JM

The TSC policy on Reader’s Allowance provides that only blind teachers are eligible for payment to enable them employ a Reader. The medical report on record did not give adequate information to enable the commission make a decision on Esther’s application. The commission has requested for further clarification from the Principal, St. Mark’s Primary Teachers College Kigari whose response will facilitate the resolution of the matter.

My wife is one of the retired teachers who has been suffering for more than 20 years because of TSC’s and government’s refusal to pay her rightful dues despite a superior court of the land ordering TSC and the pensions department to pay. Have you no mercy on such elderly people who gave their best of life to our nation? How would you feel if it was you or any of your close relations facing a similar situation? 

Julius M. Macharia, Murang’a, Mumbi Estate

The Commission has put in place measures to ensure full compliance with the ruling on pension benefits for teachers who retired between 1998 and 2003. As I have indicated, the commission has set up a task force to process claims for the teachers and submit then same to Treasury for payment. We are away that many of the claims have been paid. You may provide us with the details of your wife so that we may specifically respond to your question.

TSC was allocated money by the National Treasury to promote teachers in the 2016-2017 financial year. Why is the commission paying the newly promoted teachers only for the months of May and June instead of the whole financial year (2016-2017)? 

Daniel Mugambi, Embu

Daniel Mugambi, Embu

Effecting promotion way before interview and appointment is like paying employees before they are hired. The government has an elaborate system in place to guarantee and safeguard prudent application of public resources, hence Treasury releases funds as and when required.

A teacher from a secondary school in Embu County retired in July last year and up to now he has not been replaced. How long does the commission take to replace retired teachers? 

The commission replaces teachers who exit the service through recruitment and staff balancing. The replacements take into consideration the priority needs of the school. This is done through recruitment or transfers during staff balancing.

How much per diem is a teacher who is required to work outside his/her station entitled to? Is it hamornised with that of the other civil servants? 

Teachers are entitled to per diem for working outside their counties at the rates same as that of other civil servants as per the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Circular Ref. No. SRC/ADM/CIR/1/13 VOL.III (126) dated December 10, 2014.

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The Nation Media Group (NMG) founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1959 has become the largest independent media house in East and Central Africa. It has been quoted on the Nairobi Stock Exchange since the early 1970s.

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