Promotion: Teachers unions raise alarm over stagnation

Teachers unions have raised concerns over the recent omission of certain grades in promotion interviews, particularly Grade D4.

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) and Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) say teachers in D4 have been denied the opportunity of upgrading despite having reached the time to move to the next level.

The omission has created an administrative gap and denied Grade D4 teachers the opportunity to upgrade, potentially leading to stagnation in lower grades.

The story underscores the challenges faced by educators in their pursuit of professional growth and the impact of administrative decisions on teacher morale and productivity.

The teachers’ unions are now seeking accountability and transparency in the promotion process.

They have now initiated plans to collect data to address the concerns raised by teachers who feel unfairly excluded from deserved promotions.

KUPPET Secretary General Akelo Misori highlighted the challenges faced by teachers as they strive for professional growth and recognition within the system.

“The stories of these teachers underscore the frustration and demoralization that many educators are experiencing as they strive for professional growth and recognition within the system,” Misori said.

He noted the impact of the promotion issues on teachers’ morale and productivity.

“Out of frustration, some of the teachers want early retirement instead of being subjected to this kind of embarrassment,” he said.

Misori expressed concerns about existing gaps in schools and questioned whether the lack of interest in principal roles, low application rates, or prolonged stagnation contributed to this phenomenon.

“There has been existing gaps in schools and one wonders, does it mean people have lost interest of being principals of schools, they are not applying or is because of the long stagnation,” Misori said.

Misori said the issue extends to Grade D5, with teachers in Grade D4 being denied the chance to progress.

He said this has caused a ripple effect throughout lower grades and contributed to overall stagnation.

The unions also criticized the practice of deputies assuming principal responsibilities for extended periods, leading to frustration and demoralization among educators.

“Another thorny issue is deputies who have been acting as principals for a period more than six months. Many having assumed that responsibility, end up being asked to go back to their previous positions of deputies as new principals are posted,” he said.

Former Job Group L, which created two job groups of C3 and C4, was criticized by Misori for contributing to the delay in teachers’ progression.

He argued that moving a teacher from C3 to C4 only serves to delay the teacher within the same group, disrupting the traditional progression from Job Group L to M.

“The restructuring of Job Group L was identified as a contributing factor to prolonged stagnation, affecting numerous teachers who have remained in the same job group for more than a decade,” Misori said.

The unions called for urgent measures to address these persistent challenges in the promotion and career advancement of teachers.

KNUT Secretary General Collins Oyuu expressed dissatisfaction with the merit list published by TSC for teacher promotions.

Oyuu questioned the commission’s unwillingness to provide real names against Teachers Service Commission (TSC) numbers published for audit purposes, highlighting the lack of transparency in the criteria used for promotions.

“We are totally disgusted with what has been rolled out. Our attention has been drawn to several complaints from teachers regarding which criteria were used in the interviews to award promotions,” Oyuu stated.

He emphasised the need for transparency in the promotion process.

The unions emphasized the importance of collecting data on teachers who have not received deserved promotions, citing numerous complaints from teachers who felt unfairly excluded from the recent promotion process.

“Since the conclusion of the recent promotions by the Teachers Service Commission, the union has received many complaints from members who deserved to be promoted but were unfairly excluded from the process,” Misori said.

He said data collection is key as it will inform the union’s course of action.

Oyuu said this is aimed at holding the TSC accountable for not adhering to its own regulations.

He called for data compilation on the promotion issue within different branches and urged teachers to submit hard copy written complaints to the union’s office for confirmation.

“Kindly note that teachers applied for different promotions; some were interviewed for the promotions. We have noted with concern that there is so much complain on this issue after the release of the results,” Oyuu said.

The dissatisfaction with the promotion process extends to concerns about the absence of real names against TSC numbers and the lack of information on the number of promotions in each grade and region.

“The purpose of this communication is to request you to compile data on the above issue as per zone in your Branch using a template attached therein,” Oyuu said.

He added: “In addition, collect hard copy written complaints by the same teachers and forward to this office as confirmation of the same.”

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