Pr*mary school h**ds push for c*reer structure reforms

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 03:19 | By
KEPSHA National Chairman Johnson Nzioka addresses the press at a past teachers’ conference in Mombasa. PHOTO/Print
KEPSHA National Chairman Johnson Nzioka addresses the press at a past teachers’ conference in Mombasa. PHOTO/Print

Primary school head teachers now are demanding better recognition and review of their job grading structure to allow career progression.

The Kenya Primary Heads Association (KEPSHA) National Chairperson Johnson Nzioka said the teachers want Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to recognise heads of the comprehensive school that combines the primary section and Junior Secondary School.

Once the heads are identified as principals, Nzioka said there would be better progression unlike the present situation where the teachers have a ceiling of job group D1, with no further promotion thereafter. However, the principals, Nzioka explained, can rise up to senior principals’ job scale of D2 and beyond.

“TSC should recognise heads of institutions by issuing them with a document showing they are in charge of Junior and primary school just as an appreciation. If they are going to refer them to as principals, the better… There should be progression but first they should be appreciated as principals,” said Nzioka, who was speaking during the Rift Valley region head teachers’ conference.

At the same time, Nzioka said they are aware that the ministry has proposed amendments to the Education Act. A crucial issue the association has noted is the proposal that head teachers be moved from the management of TSC to the ministry.

KEPSHA, however, declined this move, saying they are comfortable under TSC leadership, and insisted that this clause in the amendment Bill should be reviewed.

Similarly, the teachers took issue with the clause on exclusion of professional bodies in the education Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGAs) like Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI) and Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) among others, emphasising that this proposal be reconsidered. Nzioka said professional bodies are implementers and there is need for bodies like KEPSHA in the running of KICD, KEMI and Knec to enable them access critical information and also share on what is happening on the ground.

Annual conference

Speaking during their annual conference in Busia, KEPSHA Western region chairperson Andrew Omusale echoed the sentiments, saying head teachers have additional responsibilities of manning the comprehensive schools.

“We demand letters of recognition as principals. It is unfortunate we only have titles with meagre grades and pay. We call on the government to urgently upgrade the job groups and remuneration to that effect,” said Omusale.

He added: “The government must be alive to the welfare demands of the school heads for manning three institutions in one.”

Omusale also demanded an upward review of capitation for free primary education while calling on the ministry to disburse capitation for Junior Schools alongside circular.

As Nzioka welcomed the Government’s disbursement of first term capitation, he said that it should work on the timelines to help schools run smoothly.

“Like now, before schools open for term two can we have capitation in schools?” he posed.

Similarly, he urged the Government to fast-track the process of constructing Grade 9 classrooms.

“We are told that the Government set aside money but the construction has not started. That is something which should be given first priority now so that by the time the year is over, every school will have a classroom,” he said.

Busia Governor Dr Paul Otuoma and Lugari MP Nabii Nabwera also called on the government to address issues surrounding capitation to schools and ensure disbursement is effected on time.

Otuoma said issues of capitation are still a big problem in the education sector despite good programmes like Competency Based Curriculum being implemented.

He challenged TSC to adopt the slogan of ‘doing things differently’ by supporting teachers’ welfare and investing heavily in education.

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