THE STAR 10/7/2021
Parliament has hinted at a possible review of the mandate of the Teachers Service Commission to clip its regulatory powers.
The National Assembly Committee on Education wants separation of powers, with the TSC only being the employer and a different entity as the regulator.
The regulatory agency is yet to be identified.
A regulator is a public organisation that imposes and enforces requirements for those entering and in the profession and setting the standard for activities.
If the proposal sails through, it will be a big win for former Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary general Wilson Sossion who, during his tenure, was strongly opposed to TSC’s double role as employer and regulator.
Sossion, who sits in the Education committee, noted the need to have a regulatory agency to end conflict of interest currently witnessed at TSC.
However, critics argue that a legal barrier lies in the efforts to strip off the TSC of its regulatory powers as it is captured on Article 237 of the Constitution.
If effected, the teaching profession will follow the route and practice in the medical profession where the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union is the regulator while counties are the employers.
This is also the practice in the engineering field and the legal profession where the Engineering Board of Kenya and the Law Society of Kenya are regulators.
On Thursday, Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua and the chair of the committee said that the Education ministry and committee members will go for a two-week retreat to deliberate on the matter.
Subsequently, the TSC will lose powers to register teachers entering the profession.
TSC will also lose power to conduct professional development and renew licenses of practicing teachers.
The regulatory agency will also take powers from TSC of developing the code of conduct for the profession and taking disciplinary action against those that violate the same.
The commission has been on receiving end in the quest to refine the teaching profession with the latest tussle pitting the launch of the recently launched mandatory retraining of practising teachers in state-owned schools.
In September, TSC rolled out a professional development course that will require teachers to renew their teaching licenses after every five years.
The mandatory retraining dates back to 2015, when TSC proposed the introduction of professional development.
The implementation was delayed following opposition led by the former secretary general of Knut, Sossion.
He termed the retraining illegal, saying they had not been involved in crafting it.
He further opposed the calls to have teachers pay for the in-service training.
The new policy will require teachers to undertake in-service professional training lasting five years upon which they will get their certificates renewed.
At the end of each module, teachers will be given a number of points yet to be made public.
The professional development will run for 30 years and has six modules each lasting five years.