• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

TSC told to reinstate sacked teachers or face dire consequences

Jul 14, 2024

The Teacher Service Commission (TSC) has fired 746 junior secondary school (JSS) teachers for demanding permanent employment.

TSC considers them interns despite a court ruling that they are qualified and possess teaching licenses, making them eligible for permanent positions.

JSS leadership claims the number of those dismissed could be higher.

JSS teachers protested for several weeks across the country, urging TSC to implement the court’s decision, which was made on April 17, 2024.

Judge Byrum Ongaya of the Employment and Labour Relations Court found that TSC had erred by employing them as interns.

The court, however, set its ruling aside until August 1, 2024, to allow TSC time to implement transition measures.

The teachers grew agitated because TSC was not progressing on the court’s directive, fearing the decision would not be implemented, especially since a media report indicated that TSC had appealed it. Several attempts by the JSS teachers to engage TSC have been ignored.

The National Assembly education committee also supported permanent employment for JSS teachers. In May 2024, the Committee Chair, Julius Melly, informed the budget and appropriations committee that Sh8.3 billion had been allocated to employ 26,000 intern teachers on permanent terms starting in July.

Despite TSC’s appeal, the mass sacking of teachers is illegal. The teachers’ protests aimed to pressure the government to make their employment permanent and pensionable. TSC’s actions discriminate against and criminalize the right to protest.

The conditions for these teachers are dire: they are overworked, underpaid, and often required to teach multiple subjects far beyond their scope.

Many have served as interns for at least a year. Furthermore, although their contracts labelled them interns, they were taxed as if on permanent terms, adding to their frustration.

The Elimu Bora Working Group (EBWG) demands that TSC immediately reinstate the teachers. TSC should stop any further recruitment of teachers on an internship basis.

Kenya is already facing a teacher shortage, and firing them could further affect the quality of education and undermine the teachers’ economic status. If TSC fails to reinstate them, the group plans to take legal action.