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Promotion crisis killing tutors’ morale

More than 100 primary school teachers who have attained master’s degrees are still teaching in primary schools.

At least of those are pursuing  doctoral studies (PHD) in various universities, NairobiNow has learnt.

This means these teachers are qualified to teach at post-secondary institutions, such as teacher training colleges and universities. But they are stuck at their present level, with only a meagre increment to their salaries.

Interestingly, the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC), the employer, does not recognise masters degrees when determining the promotions of teachers. It only increases salaries.

This is the latest crisis facing  teachers in the city, a subject that has formed  the basis of negotiations between the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and TSC.

The union  postponed an impending strike over the lack to promote 53,000 teachers countrywide.  Nairobi has about 10,000 government teachers, according to records at the local Knut branch.

Of those, Nairobi’s  Knut executive secretary Henry Njenga said more than 1,000 are in line for promotion.

“All their papers are with TSC, but the commission has failed to recognise them,” he said during an interview yesterday.

He said records showed at least three teachers in each of the city’s 205 public schools were lagging behind in the grading arithmetic.

“This is a great morale killer. Teachers are investing time and money to improve their skills but sadly, their employer does not  care,” said Mr Njenga.

Ms Nicera Ndwiga, a teacher at Donholm Primary School, is one of the few teachers who have risen the ladder and is currently doing a PHD.

“I have  only gotten salary increments but my attempts to be given higher grades have not been successful,” she said.

Mr Njenga is leading an initiative that seeks to have Grade P1 scrapped. The grade is awarded to fresh graduates of teacher training colleges.

According to Mr Njenga, the union has demanded recognition of teacher college graduates as diploma holders.

“What is this grade called P1? Graduates of other mid- level colleges attain diplomas. We want P1 replaced with Diplomas,” he said.

Down from P1, primary school teachers have three other merit grades before they become graduate teachers.

The grades are Approved Teachers (ATS 111, ATS 2 and ATS 1). Each of the grades is awarded after serving for three years and after a performance evaluation and interviews. Diploma teachers join the service at Grade J.

The promotion crisis can be traced to thousands of teachers who have enrolled for evening and holiday degree programmes.

TSC has on several occasion warned universities against enrolling P1 teachers for degrees without them undergoing pre-university courses.

TSC Chief Executive Officer Gabriel Lengoiboni  in 2010 and 2011 officially wrote to universities warning them a  P1 qualification was not a qualification.