The fear to miss out on promotional positions as a result of not enrolling for the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) course introduced by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) in 2021 has driven over 90,000 teachers to enroll for the Introductory Module of the TPD.
A document prepared by the Commission on TPD titled Framework and Roll out Of Structured TPD in Kenya dated April, 2022 shows that a total of 96,186 have enrolled for Introductory Module amongst them 85,105 classroom teachers, 4,286 Secondary School Principals and 6,795 Primary School Headteachers.
Since the Commission is unpredictable with its hiring and its promotional score sheets keep changing from time to time, teachers are now afraid of missing out on promotions and employment if the Commission introduces the TPD issue in the score sheet during hiring or promotion.
The teachers’ fears are justified since of late, the Commission has been coming up with different employment and promotion criteria during mass recruitment and promotion, which somehow favour those who have complied with any newly introduced policy at any given time.
For instance, during last year’s mass recruitment of teachers, the Commission awarded intern teachers an automatic 30 marks, giving them an upper hand for absorption to permanent and pensionable jobs, a situation that has recently seen the number of applicants increasing when the intern positions are advertised.
In 2019, very few teachers applied for the internships since teachers used to earn a monthly stipend of Sh10, 000 and Sh15, 000 for primary and secondary schools interns respectively.
However, the stipend has currently been increased to Shs 15, 000 and Shs 20, 000 for interns in primary and secondary schools respectively.
In 2015, the introduction of the Career Progression Guidelines (CPGs) which focuses on teachers’ performance for promotions and which resulted into the introduction of Performance Contracting (PC) for Heads of Institution and Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development (TPAD) for teachers in January 2016, saw teachers who failed to take part in TPAD or have low rating miss out on promotions.
The Commission made it mandatory for teachers applying for promotions to avail TPAD evidence during application process and interviews and those who failed to take their TPAD appraisals faced disciplinary actions including being served with ‘show cause’ letters or even being interdicted.
CPG came as a substitute for the Schemes of Service (SoS).
In regards to the current TPD, TSC has said that teachers have until December 2022 to complete the Introductory Module of TPD despite Parliament stopping the TSC from rolling out the teachers’ refresher course in March this year.
The National Assembly Departmental Committee on Education and Research in their report dated March 1, 2022 recommended that TSC suspends the roll-out and implementation of the TPD programme until it conducts extensive public participation taking into account the views of teachers, teachers unions and other stakeholders with a view of building consensus on the programme and increasing the number of service providers, institutions and centres across the counties for ease of access by teachers.
It further recommended that TPD being a training initiated by TSC, it should be paid for by the Government and that parliament should enact legislation and pass amendments to Article 237 of the Constitution and the TSC Act, 2012 should remedy on the conflict of interest of the Commission being a regulator and an employer and further scrutinize and approve regulations governing TPD.
TSC TPD document in part states: “Teachers will first enroll for Introductory Module which will last for 1 year from December 2021 to December 2022. The Introductory Module will be done through online webinar,”
TSC rolled out the TPD programme on September 22, 2021 at Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) in Karen. TPD has seven prescribed modules, each having 5 chapters addressing all the seven (7) Kenya Professional Teaching Standards (KePTS).
TPD will see teachers being required to renew their teaching certificate every five years after completing a given number of modules in their entire teaching life.
These Seven (7) Standards in the KePTS are: a teacher should promote professionalism throughout their career, a teacher should have pedagogical content knowledge and understanding of Competency- Based Curriculum and how to implement it, a teacher should have knowledge on assessment and reporting, a teacher should know how to create and support inclusive education practices, a teacher should know and promote comprehensive school health and safety, a teacher should have knowledge of financial literacy skills and a teacher should know and practice instructional leadership.
Renewal of Teaching Certificate
TSC maintains in the document that upon commencement of the TPD programme, all serving teachers will be required to acquire a Teaching Certificate renewable every 5 years while the subsequent applicants for Certificate of Registration will be issued with both certificates.
It has also been revealed that at the end of each year, teachers will earn 60 TPD points based on the prescribed modules and 40 TPD points based on professional learning captured under TPAD for example In-Service Education and Training (INSETS) by CEMASTEA and others.
The accumulated TPD points will be used to renew Teaching Certificate of successful participants every 5 years which will also further require a teacher to have mandatory completed 5 chapters of a module and provide documentary evidence of successfully completion.
“TPD activities will be evaluated based on authentic assessment which will include reflective journal, participant led final synthesis and Individual Professional Portfolio development and Presentation,” reads the TSC TPD document.
More Service Providers to be accredited soon
TSC reveals further in the document that it will select and accredit more institutions as service providers through a competitive tendering and procurement process next year (2023).
Currently, only four (4) institutions have been accredited to offer the teachers refresher course. These institutions are Kenyatta University, Mount Kenya University, Riara University and Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI) which charge teachers Sh 6,000 per year for the training.
The contracted TPD service providers are delivering the training through face to face workshops at Sub County level which will take 5 days during one school holiday in a year and through Online Webinar during the other two school holidays in a year while professional learning will be through an online platform ( synchronous and asynchronous) for 5 days.
Other institutions that the Commission plans to accredit as service providers include government institutions mandated to capacity teachers for instance CEMASTEA, Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) and Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC); and Non-State actors who are in partnership with the Commission like EduTrust and United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
The TPD learning outcomes of these institutions must be aligned to at least one of the seven KePTS before being accredited.
The TPD training programme [which is either formal or informal activities that registered teachers undertake in order to continuously improve their pedagogical skills, management skills and learner outcomes] was initially introduced by the Commission in 2018.
TSC cites two major shortcomings as major factors that necessitated the Commission to shift to a life-long training programme for teachers. These are no standardized outcomes and not being continuous that is One- off or offered for few years only.
According to TSC, the shift was informed by changing environment of teaching due to 21st century skills demands, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Knowledge based society; teaching as a profession which seek to align teaching with any other modern professions, knowledge base of teaching profession and teachers mandatory assuming a greater responsibility for their own TPD.
Further change from training (Push Professional Development) to Learning (Pull Professional Development) necessitated the shift in TPD training programme where in 20th Century and in some context until recently, TPD was based on a training paradigm that is deficit-mastery model and one-shot program.