Nominated MP Wilson Sossion wants the National Assembly to intervene and push for recognition of teachers who acquire higher education qualifications.
Sossion has petitioned the House over what he termed as refusal by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to acknowledge undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate qualifications attained by teachers’ in-service.
“Petitioners pray that the House recommends that TSC immediately puts in place necessary policy guidelines to promote or upgrade teachers, who successfully acquire higher qualifications from recognised institutions in line with international best practices,” said Sossion, in a petition he presented to the National Assembly.
He added: “It should make any recommendations deemed fit in addressing the plight of petitioners with a view to safeguarding Kenya’s competitiveness in the field of education.”
Sossion says the House, through the departmental Committee on Education should inquire into circumstances under which TSC, since 2014 unilaterally declined to recognise diplomas, under graduate, graduates and post graduate degrees acquired in-service during promotions.
On behalf of concerned teachers, I draw the attention of the House that the government is committed to ensuring the policy objectives for teacher education are aligned with the aspirations of the Constitution, Vision 2030 and Unesco 2030 agenda espoused in Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education,” said Sossion.
He said Section 35(2a) of the TSC Act 2012 emphasises the need for the commission to require every registered teacher to undertake career progression and professional development programmes.
Sossion also said in recognition that continuous professional development of teachers is important in updating and development of competences of teaching staff through acquisition of new skills, the Ministry of Education has integrated education and training in national development plans and strategies.
In the interest of self-improvement, he said, many teachers have advanced their qualifications. In pursuit for higher qualifications, Sossion noted, teachers had legitimate expectations that TSC would reciprocate through commensurate compensation of their efforts in bettering the teaching profession with effect from the date of their graduation.
“The ILO /Unesco recommendations concerning the status of teachers of 1966 states that teaching is a form of public service, which requires teachers’ expert knowledge and specialised skills acquired and maintained through rigorous and continuing studies,” he explained.
He told the House that acquisition of higher qualifications undoubtedly equips teachers with specialised skills, which enhance the professional competences, mastery of content and quality of delivery.
“Decision by TSC disillusioned teachers and negated its goal of building a highly knowledgeable teaching force through self-initiated career progression and professional development,” he added.
Sossion said the country runs the risk of losing its global and continental competitiveness and standing in the field of education because of the policy.
“Kenya is now ranked seventh in global competitiveness in the continent down from number one due to this type of reforms. Efforts by the petitioners to move TSC to address the matter have been unsuccessful,” he said.
Minority Leader John Mbadi supported the petition, saying teaching is a noble profession and any society that does not invest in education does not progress
“The way we handle and treat our teachers is very important and when the committee is looking into this matter, there are issues that need to be looked into, which require budgetary allocations,” he stated.
Nyaribari Chache MP Richard Tong’i also supported the petition, saying everyone is a function of teachers.