Teachers’ joys, pains working across counties - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 21 December 2019

Teachers’ joys, pains working across counties

Teachers Service Commission
In 2017, when the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) launched the delocalisation programme, Mr Gidraph Gachuhi Mbogo, a deputy principal at Igikiro Secondary School in Murang’a County, was moved to Makueni.
He was caught by surprise and dreaded the potential culture shock once he reported as the new principal at the African Brotherhood Church Secondary School, Muua.
To begin with, he did not even know where the school was.
He was to be further dismayed when he got there and found no facilities and staff. “I was just shown a field and told this is the school,” he said, referring to the school’s lack of infrastructure and teachers. The school had makeshift classrooms and laboratories.
Luckily for him, he was accepted. And despite the challenges, the school managed to produce two students who qualified to join public universities during the first attempt.
The first student had a B and the other C+.
Mr Mbogo says his major challenge was leaving his family and moving to a place he had never been.
“My greatest fear was leaving my wife and children in Murang’a. My wife is a teacher there and for that reason, I could not relocate the family. Furthermore, it’s expensive to relocate a family,” he said.
But Mr Mbogo is grateful for the support he received from teachers from the neighbouring schools, the community, area member of parliament and sub-county directors to construct classrooms. Now, the school has six TSC teachers.
But not everyone is lucky to be accepted. Mr Gabriel Embu was a head teacher at Ongata Rongai Primary School in Samburu County when he received a transfer letter to head Mategidhi Primary School in Laikipia County.
Upon arrival, he did not get a warm reception. “Some teachers were not ready to work with me because I am not from their community. They saw me as a competitor and not a partner,” Mr Embu said.
On top of this, the distance makes it hard for him to see his family as often as he would wish.
But he takes it all in his stride. He says it has been a great learning experience to meet new people and understand their way of life.
“Blending in was a challenge but right now we have a common goal — to teach and produce the best results,” he said.
Another teacher affected by the policy is Mr Kennedy Bosire from Nakuru County. He was the principal of Mukinyai Secondary School in Laikipia.
For him, living far from his family is a challenge. However, he says, meeting new people and making new friends has been easy for him. He encourages other teachers to embrace the policy.
Ibubi Girls Secondary School Principal Mary Kui was transferred from a school in Trans Nzoia County to one in Vihiga.
Leaving her family was not easy. And now Ms Kui had received a letter of transfer to St Thomas Amagoro Girls in Busia County, which means that she has to move for the second time to another county in January.
Ms Kui is among 2,631 principals and head teachers whom the TSC has transferred across the country.
Also being transferred are classroom teachers in all the 47 counties, but TSC boss Nancy Macharia did not indicate the number of those be affected.
Ms Macharia said 1,010 principals in secondary schools have been transferred while a total 1,621 head teachers in primary schools have also been affected.
“Transfers of classroom teachers are ongoing at the county level,” she said.
Several criteria, she said, were used to transfer the teachers: length of stay at a station, personal request, health status, promotion and one’s age.
“Transfer letters have already been released and teachers are expected to report to their new duty stations by January 3, 2020 - for administrators - and January 6, 2020 for teachers,” said Ms Macharia.
She added that for teachers who wish to appeal against the Commission’s decision, an appeals committee is already in place and will handle each case on its own merit.
Ms Macharia explained that the Commission undertakes transfer of teachers to ensure there is equitable distribution and optimal utilisation of teachers, facilitate the 100 per cent transition of learners from primary to secondary schools, and to give teachers an opportunity to have different work experiences in various stations.
“The exercise is undertaken at the end of the year so that there is minimal interruption of the learning process,” she added.
The delocalisation policy has seen school administrators posted to work outside their home counties. Despite protests by some teachers, a good number of them have embraced it.

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