Teachers unions have said they would now start pushing for promotion of teachers rather than fight for higher salaries.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) officials on Friday said the current focus on higher salaries had made some teachers stagnate at the same job group for more than 15 years.
Kuppet chairman Omboko Milemba regretted that some of their members had stayed in one job group for over a decade, with the most affected being those in L and M categories.
“They have done interviews but are never promoted and end up retiring. This seriously affects their pension as they never rose in rank,” he said.
Knut Secretary-General Wilson said promotion of teachers was key for higher pay.
The issue has been lined up for discussion at a meeting in Mombasa next month, with Mr Sossion saying the focus would be on promotion of teachers in common cadre and those with new qualifications.
“We will look at the performance appraisal for teachers as well as delocalisation of leadership of schools,” the ODM nominated MP said.
Mr Milemba noted civil servants benefit more than teachers in terms of promotions.
“Our demand is that for us to get out of this stagnation mess, let the teachers be treated the same way as other civil servants by being promoted after three years. It will go a long way in motivating the teachers, and improving salaries,” said Mr Milemba.
He added there was need to promote teachers of schools that perform well in national examinations.
“As it is the case now, principals are the ones who are becoming the beneficiary of promotions when a school shines,” said Mr Milemba who also called for devolution of promotion of teachers.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) chief executive Nancy Macharia noted the union’s concerns but said the institution had promoted 45,000 teachers to new grades this year.
The majority, 25,788, were moved from between Job Group J and K, nearly double the number that was promoted in the same range last year.
A further 11,690 were promoted after undergoing the mandatory teacher proficiency course.
Mrs Macharia said several other teachers, especially those in administrative positions, have been lined up for promotion early next year before being deployed to national and county schools.
She said the commission was keen to ensure meritocracy and transparency in promotions.
“We are keen to offer promotions purely to professional and hardworking teachers,” she said.
Mrs Macharia observed the performance appraisal system introduced in schools had been received well with many teachers executing their tasks diligently.
In total, the number of teachers in the country now stands at 312,060.
She promised that teachers whose schools performed better in national examinations will be rewarded.
She said the country requires about 50,000 new teachers as the government starts free day secondary next year.
Mrs Macharia said the available teachers must be ready to serve the students as the government looks into ways of recruiting more.
The government is targeting to have all the 993,718 candidates who sat this year’s Class Eight examinations join Form One.
Head teachers have raised concern over the shortage of teachers, classrooms, desks and other essential infrastructure ahead of the start of the programme.
Most day schools hire their own teachers and with the development, the majority of parents, the principals noted, would be reluctant to contribute to pay the tutors.
A taskforce chaired by former education assistant minister Kilemi Mwiria revealed that about 37 per cent of teachers in schools are employed by school boards.
Statistics from the Education ministry indicate that secondary schools in the country have a shortage of 47,576 teachers.
The shortage is expected to worsen when the free day secondary school begins in January.