JSS teachers hold maandamano demanding to be employed permanently by TSC
Hundreds of Junior Secondary School (JSS) teachers staged a peaceful maandamano on Monday, demanding to be employed permanently by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC). The teachers, who are currently working as interns, said they were frustrated by the unfair and discriminatory terms of their contracts, which are set to expire at the end of this month.
The teachers marched from Uhuru Park to the TSC headquarters, carrying placards and chanting slogans. They accused the TSC of violating their rights and dignity, and of treating them as lesser civil servants. They said they were paid a meagre stipend of Sh20,000, which was deducted to Sh17,000 after taxes and other deductions. They said they were also denied the opportunity to apply for teaching positions in senior secondary schools, despite having the same qualifications as other secondary teachers.
The teachers said they were promised permanent and pensionable employment by mid-2023, but the TSC reneged on its promise and extended their contracts for another six months, with no guarantee of confirmation thereafter. They said they felt betrayed and demoralized by the TSC, and that they had no job security or career progression. They said they were ready to down their tools in January 2024, if the TSC fails to address their grievances and demands.
The teachers also called for the removal of JSS from primary schools, and the integration of JSS within the existing secondary schools. They said the current arrangement of having JSS within primary schools was chaotic and confusing, and that it created a conflict of interest and authority between the primary school heads and the JSS principals. They said the JSS curriculum was different from the primary curriculum, and that it required more resources and facilities, which were lacking in most primary schools.
The teachers said they were fully supportive of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), which introduced the JSS level as part of the 2-6-3-3-3 system of education. They said they were committed to delivering quality education to the learners, and to enhancing their competencies and skills. They said they had undergone rigorous training and assessment to qualify as JSS teachers, and that they deserved respect and recognition from the TSC and the Ministry of Education.
The TSC, however, dismissed the claims and demands of the JSS teachers, and said they were baseless and unfounded. The TSC said the JSS teachers were hired as interns, and that they knew the terms and conditions of their contracts before signing them. The TSC said the contracts were renewable subject to performance and availability of funds, and that there was no guarantee of permanent employment. The TSC said the stipend paid to the JSS teachers was commensurate with their status and duties, and that it was in line with the government’s policy on internship.
The TSC also defended the placement of JSS within primary schools, and said it was a deliberate and strategic decision to ensure a smooth transition and implementation of the CBC. The TSC said the JSS level was meant to bridge the gap between primary and secondary education, and to provide a comprehensive and holistic learning experience for the learners. The TSC said the JSS curriculum was aligned with the primary curriculum, and that it was designed to cater for the diverse needs and interests of the learners.
The TSC urged the JSS teachers to be patient and professional, and to focus on their core mandate of teaching and learning. The TSC said it was working closely with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders to address the challenges and opportunities arising from the CBC, and to ensure the success and sustainability of the JSS level. The TSC said it was committed to promoting the welfare and development of all teachers, and to enhancing the quality and standards of education in the country.