MPs salivate at 35,000 jobs for fresh teachers

Written by on 14 December 2022

The anticipated nationwide recruitment of 35,000 additional teachers has been marred by fears of political interference and manipulation after it emerged that Members of Parliament (MPs) have been positioning themselves to reward their cronies with the appointments.

Majority of the new recruits will be deployed to teach in Junior Secondary School (JSS), whose pioneer Grade Seven class will join the higher level in the New Year. All counties will get the same number of teachers and interns. 

Already, some MPs have convened meetings with their respective constituents together with their local sub-county directors of education to discuss possible recruitment amid fears that the lawmakers could be out to hijack the process to secure employment for their cronies and relatives.

As a rule, MPs leverage their supervisory role in the disbursement of National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) money to influence school boards by sponsoring various developments besides allocating bursaries. They can use this power to influence who gets recruited since the responsibility of hiring will be vested in boards of managements.

“The recruitment of teachers is being done by the school boards of management and therefore I don’t see where the MPs are coming in this,” Teachers Service Commission (TSC) chief executive Nancy Macharia told a Parliamentary Committee on Education yesterday.

The team had invited her to shed light on whether the recruitment would still be spearheaded by schools’ boards of management as has been the case in the past.

“On the recruitment of teachers, let me say this, the MPs have no role at all as it is being conducted by the headquarters at the sub-county level,” she told the legislators at Parliament B Buildings.

TSC is the employer of public school teachers.

Macharia was reacting to claims by committee chairman and Tinderet MP Julius Melly, and members Eve Obara (Kabondo Kaspul), Malulu Injendi (Malava) and Peter Orero (Kibra) that they have been ambushed by their constituents to tell them where to converge for the recruitment.

Melly claimed his constituents had been calling him, seeking to know why he had not communicated to them where to converge yet some of his colleagues were already mobilising their constituents for a similar drive.

Local officials

“Actually madam CEO you need to tell us whether MPS have a role in this,” said Melly.

Injendi sought to know whether TSC had asked MPs to take part in the hiring as already some had sent out notices asking those interested to converge at sub-county offices with their TSC certificates.

Some county directors of education and their counterparts at the sub-county levels who talked to Inka FM on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter claimed TSC had given in to pressure from lawmakers to control the recruitment.

Several MPs from Rift Valley and Mt Kenya, the regions that heavily voted for the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, have for the last three days been engaging unemployed teachers, local TSC officials and directors of education with a view to influencing who gets hired. The letters sent out to stakeholders, a copy of which Inka FM has seen, specifies where and when the possible recruits should converge and the documents they need to take with them. The letters have raised questions over whether the process will be fair and transparent.

Upcoming recruitment

Though the MPs who wrote some of the letters have denied claims that they are positioning themselves to interfere and manipulate the upcoming recruitment, they have been holding consultative meetings with unemployed teachers in the presence of local education directors of education and TSC officials. 

Kabete MP James  Kamau, one of the legislators who had convened such a meeting yesterday, said the engagement was meant to appraise the would-be applicants and review the number of interested candidates.

“Hon Githua Wamacukuru, Member of Parliament Kabete Constituency, in conjunction with the Kabete Sub-County Teachers Service Commission office invites all unemployed teachers from Kabete — both primary and secondary school — for a meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at Bishop Kariuki Centre, Wangige,” a letter from the  MP’s office read.

Like all similar letters sent out by his colleagues, those interested were required to carry their P1 and TSC certificates and identity cards.

Thika Town MP Alice Ng’ang’a, who held a consultative meeting with unemployed teachers from her constituency at Eton Hotel in the town, said lawmakers  were best suited to supervise the drive to ensure transparency and accountability.

“We have had situations in the previous recruitments where some persons from outside were ferried in and recruited at the expense of the locals. This is what we are out to deter this time around,” Ng’ang’a said.

She said that non-locals would not be recruited.

Only a few weeks ago, MPs approved a motion in Parliament barring TSC from transferring teachers outside their home counties. They overwhelming voted to stop what TSC called “delocalisation” programme, which entailed posting teachers to regions outside their home counties.

Yesterday, Juja MP George Koimburi, while acknowledging he was aware of a scheme by some of his colleagues to infiltrate the recruitment drive, exonerated TSC and the government from blame.

“Some of our colleagues are just determined to make political mileage from the exercise. There is no directive from any quarter that MPs get involved in the exercise,” Koimburi told Inka FM.

He claimed that the proposal to employ one teacher per school would disadvantage schools with higher numbers of learners if they are in need of more teachers.

Raw deal

“That is why we are asking the government to consider population instead of the number of schools in an area. Employing one teacher per school in a highly populated area like Juja will give us a raw deal. Though we may not be having many schools around, but the few we have are brimming to capacity,” he said.

Yesterday, members of the Education Committee raised concern over the criterion to be used in the recruitment.

While they were comfortable with the recruitment of secondary school teachers, they expressed misgivings on hiring of primary school teachers and interns who are to teach in primary schools after it emerged that each county had been allocated 21 slots.

Committee members challenged the commission to present to them a policy document indicating how the teachers would be distributed should the new teachers be hired on need basis.

A brief from the commission shows that the bulk of the 35,000 teachers will teach in JSS. Meanwhile, 9,000 and 21,550 interns will be recruited to teach in secondary schools, 1,000 teachers — translating to 21 per county — and 4,000 interns, translating to 85 per county, will be posted to primary schools.

The shortlisting will start from next week Wednesday and end on December 29, while recruitment is expected to commence from January 5 to 11, 2023.

Vetting of applicants and signing of recruitment letters will be conducted from January 20 to pave way for the teachers to report to school by January 23 when schools re-open for first term.

 “All the money we have is for employment of teachers who will teach in Junior Secondary School so that we can have at least one teacher per class. In terms of allocation of teachers, we will allocate an equal number for each county following the decision of this House,” Macharia said.

An education taskforce appointed by President William Ruto had recommended the recruitment of 30,000 new teachers for junior secondary to bridge the shortage of tutors across the country.

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