In Summary
  • The latest standoff over salaries and promotion is quite painful. TSC has taken a very drastic move of cutting teachers’ pay and reverting to old salaries paid two years ago.

  • Legalese aside, the principle of natural justice dictates that an employee should not forfeit existing benefits or be penalised retroactively.

  • The view taken by the TSC is extremely vengeful and the question to ask is: What does it seek to achieve with that painful move?

The Teachers Service Commission and the Kenya National Union of Teachers must find a better way of managing teachers’ affairs. Constant court battles, public bickering and punitive actions by the employer are killing the profession. Teachers bear the brunt whenever TSC and Knut engage in endless combat driven more by egos than anything else.

This translates into poor classroom delivery and vengeance on learners and parents arising from what psychologists call displaced aggression. Ultimately, all these lead to poor quality teaching and learning. This is not what to expect in our schools.

The latest standoff over salaries and promotion is quite painful. TSC has taken a very drastic move of cutting teachers’ pay and reverting to old salaries paid two years ago. This, the employer argues, is the implication of the recent ruling by the Industrial Court that stopped TSC’s new policy on promotion and career progression adamantly opposed by Knut.

Legalese aside, the principle of natural justice dictates that an employee should not forfeit existing benefits or be penalised retroactively. The view taken by the TSC is extremely vengeful and the question to ask is: What does it seek to achieve with that painful move? Does it want to preside over a disgruntled and hurting workforce and expect to achieve its vision of creating a transformative teaching service for quality education?

TSC, Knut and the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Teachers (Kuppet) have the solemn duty of enhancing quality standards by promoting the welfare of teachers. Although they have different mandates, their goals coalesce on serving teachers’ interest, which in turn leads to effective teaching and learning for the benefit of learners and parents. Differences abound in this pursuit, but that must not be allowed to create hatred or to humiliate the teacher. Sadly, that is precisely what the current action has achieved.

Predictably, Knut will go to court to contest TSC’s action, which is a valid and legitimate action. However, that will only prolong the teachers’ pain. Inasmuch as it may be the logical thing to do in the present circumstances, it may not end the battles.

We have have argued before that the persistent contests between TSC and Knut can be thrashed out if only the two parties resorted to honest discussions and humbly appreciated that their obstinate positions are hurtful to the teaching fraternity. Not every dispute must be taken to court and not every action pursued on narrow legalistic frame. We detest the drastic measures taken on teachers by TSC as they are counterproductive. Teachers should not suffer because of ego wars between TSC and Knut.