The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is ready to roll out refresher courses for the 340,000 tutors across the country.
It has been holding meetings this week with teacher unions and associations to prepare for the new courses introduced four years ago, but which have been in limbo owing to opposition by the unions.
Last week, senior TSC officials met representatives of the Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association at its headquarters in Nairobi to explain the modalities of the mandatory programmes.
The meeting was convened by the TSC Director for Quality Assurance and Standards, Dr Mugwuku Nthamburi.
On Thursday, the commission met officials of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) to demonstrate how the Teacher Professional Development Programmes will be taught and examined and how completion certificates will be used to register all teachers afresh and determine promotions. More meetings are planned for this week.
Teachers will be required to pay Sh6,000 each year for five years to complete the course.
The programmes were introduced in 2018 to replace the schemes of service, which guided promotions, but they immediately ran into stiff opposition from the Kenya National Union of Teachers, which insisted that it was TSC’s duty to boost the capacity of its staff at its own cost. It demanded that the schemes of service that allowed automatic promotions be retained and went to court to block the programmes.
The stalemate was, however, resolved under the new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in July.
Under the new arrangement, all teachers will be required to undertake modular training in selected institutions, which will issue certificates to guide promotions. This means that academic papers alone will not be used as a basis for promotions and that professional training and work output would take precedence.
The training, which will be carried out during school holidays, will be offered by Kenyatta, Mount Kenya and Riara universities in addition to the Kenya Education Management Institute (Kemi).
“Professional development is critical in that teachers keep abreast with contemporary teaching methods, what is happening in the sector, and in the rest of the world. Now more than ever, current day instructional practices must have components of technology, global learning and the potential to impact a diverse range of learning styles, areas that were not key in the earlier years of the profession,” says TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia in an official document.
She says the modules will be an avenue for growth of ethical aspects of teaching and that they will also “grant teachers an opportunity for networking and testing new methods of curriculum delivery.”
“Professional development of teachers is more than retooling as the modules will also be useful in promotions. A teacher’s growth in skills and competence will see them grow in their careers,” she says in the document.
It says training centres will be as close to the work stations as possible, the training will not exceed five working days though online lessons can exceed the period as long as they do not interfere with teachers’ core duties.
Still, performance reports should be submitted to TSC in soft copy on or before the 15th day of the subsequent month after the school holiday.