Blow to Intern Teachers as Court Declares TSC Internship Illegal

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Yesterday, the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) ruled that the nearly 60,000 teachers hired as interns by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) may now demand full salaries for their service period.

The court found that TSC violated their right to fair labor practices by assigning them intern positions despite being qualified and possessing teaching licenses.

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However, the decision also raises uncertainties about the fate of Junior Secondary Schools just two weeks before the start of the second term. These teachers have been pivotal in implementing the Competency-Based Curriculum at the Junior Secondary level.

Justice Byrum Ongaya emphasized that the commission’s mandate is limited to employing only qualified and registered teachers, not interns.

He stated that the TSC should ideally employ registered teachers to meet the staffing needs in public schools without discrimination.

The internship program which was introduced to address teacher shortages and provide educators for Junior Secondary Schools has faced opposition and challenges.

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During the court proceedings, it was revealed that interns were tasked with teaching subjects beyond their contracted ones, facing deductions including taxes and controversial levies. Additionally, they lacked proper supervision and support, impacting their ability to deliver quality education.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) hailed the court ruling as a significant victory, advocating for the interns’ absorption into permanent positions.

KNUT SG Collins Oyuu with TSC CEO Dr Nancy Macharia ; Image/File

KNUT Secretary-General Collins Oyuu criticized the internship program’s treatment of fully qualified teachers as trainees, urging TSC to secure funding from Parliament to facilitate their absorption.

With 56,000 interns currently employed and plans to hire 20,000 more, the future of these educators remains uncertain amidst ongoing debates and legal battles.

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