The Teachers Service Commission is established under Article 237 (1) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and is mandated to carry out Teacher Management functions in the Country.
Under Article (237(2) of the Constitution, the Commission is mandated to undertake the following functions:
- Register trained teachers;
- Recruit and employ registered teachers;
- Assign teachers employed for service in any public school or institution; d) promote and transfer teachers;
- Exercise disciplinary control over teachers and
- Terminate the employment of teachers.
- The Constitution further charges the Commission with the responsibility of reviewing the standards of education and training of persons entering the teaching service;
- reviewing the demand for and the supply of teachers;
- And advising the national government on matters relating to the teaching profession.
TSC Act (2012) (2) stipulates that a person should not engage in teaching service unless such a person is registered as a teacher. It is therefore, an offense for any person to engagement in the teaching service, or for any employer to engage a person to undertake any teaching duties, unless such persons are registered.
Therefore, it is mandatory for all persons engaged in the teaching service both in public and private educational institutions except universities to register with Teachers Service Commission as teachers.
During the pre-colonial era, teachers were employed by either missionaries, local authorities or by the Central Government. Secondary school teachers were under the African Teachers Service (if they were African) or the Central Government (if they were European or Asians). As a result, there was great disparity in remuneration and other terms and conditions of service.
Following the formation of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) in 1957 which was the first teachers union in Kenya, there was sustained agitation for the formation of an umbrella body to manage the affairs of all teachers. The Kenya Education Commission of 1964 popularly known as the Ominde Report supported the need for a competent, respected and contented teaching force.
As a result, the Teachers Service Commission was formed in July 1967 through an Act of Parliament (Cap 212) that gave teachers in public educational institutions one employer and uniform terms and conditions of service.
The Commission was composed of three Commissioners and a secretariat of six staff that included the Chief Executive Officer.
EVOLUTION OF THE REGISTER OF TEACHERS
There was no Register of Teachers in Kenya before the establishment of Teachers Service Commission in 1967. The Teaching Licence issued was replaceable and every institution or organization kept records according to their terms, remunerations and service. Upon the establishment of Teachers Service Commission in 1967, the teaching Licence was replaced by a Teacher Registration Certificate containing a teacher’s TSC Number. The numbers were kept in a register which formed the first Register of teachers in Kenya.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE REGISTER OF TEACHERS
(a) Teaching Licence
Before establishment of the Teachers Service Commission, schools and teachers were managed by different authorities who included the central government, county government churches/missionaries and local authorities.
Teachers were issued with a License to teach that was issued by the central government through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education Nairobi, Kenya Colony. This was done while they were already working and was issued upon application through forms that were issued by the Ministry of Education.
Upon issuance, the License was sent to the Provincial Education Officer for onward transmission to teachers in Secondary schools and colleges and to the District Education Officers for primary school teachers.
The License had the following details;
- Licence Number
- Category of school to teach e.g license to teach secondary school, Teachers Training College (TTC), or primary school and
- Date of issue-29.3.63
b) The Cadet Register:
This was the first register that the Commission used upon its establishment. It accommodated the first batch of teachers from various employers and brought them on board under one employer. The Teaching Licence was replaced by a TSC Registration Certificate. Applicants from the various employers filled application details in a yellow card for registration. These were the 39,735 teachers who formed the first register of teachers – the Cadet Register.
Cadet Register was established on 26th June 1967 with TSC NO 00001 issued to Kilroy James E. Bro who was American.
The first Africans were registered on 26.6.1968. They were;
- Shimba Peninah Otinga TSC No 00012
- Mwandia Emily Kavinya TSC No 00013
- Okudo Joan Atieno TSC No 00014
The Cadet was a circular metallic holder that had metal card holders where the cards bearing a teacher’s particulars was slotted in. It was arranged in alphabetical order according to the names of the teachers. This created confusion in the TSC numbers hence making it difficult to use.
The details in the Cadet Register included;
- TSC number
- Name of the teacher
- Postal address
- Training institution
- Grade of the teacher e.g. P1, S1 ( depicted by the colour of the leaves of the register i.e.
- Pink for graduate teachers
- Orange for Diploma teachers
- Blue for P1
- Green for PII
- White for PIV and UTs ( Untrained Teachers)
Trained teachers got their TSC numbers while still in college whereas untrained teachers were registered upon employment through the District Education office who were agents of the Commission. The register was used for only one year and was replaced by Counter Registers.
c) Counter Register
They were introduced in 1968 as the Cadet Register became very bulky, and difficult to search. This created a lot of inconveniences in using it. Thus Counter Register was introduced and used until 1976.
Details captured included:
- TSC number
- Name of the teacher
- Training institution
- Grade of the teacher e.g P1, S1 etc
The Counter Registers were insecure and had become too many. This posed a challenge on storage and would easily be misplaced. They were also insecure as pages would be plucked out or even get damaged. To enhance the security of the Register, the Kalamazoo Register was introduced.
d) Kalamazoo Register (1976-2012 December)
In 1976 The Kalamazoo Register was introduced. The register got its name from the company that manufactures the books. It is a big sized register that is fire proof and holds many leaves. One leaf of the register holds details of up to 100 applicants.
Details that were captured in the register included;
- TSC number
- Teacher’s name
- ID number
- Date of Birth
- Date of appointment
- Qualificafications e.g. academic ,professional grade , where trained and date of registration
- Employment status.
The employment status included;
- Employment by TSC or not. This was coded as Y for those not yet employed by TSC and X for those in TSC employment, TS for those transfer of service and R for those who have resigned.
- Transfer of service to other government institution. The date of transfer was indicated in the register.
- Removal from the register
By the time the Kalamazoo registers stopped being used there were about 10 such registers and were holding details of registration for 563,167 teachers.
The use of the Kalamazoo register stopped in December 2012. This was necessitated by the following;
- The manual application generated a lot of paperwork that become too bulky posing challenges of storage. One register weighing 20.5kg
- The manual process was long and tedious hence delaying registration of applicants causing a lot of backlog.
- Verification of the details and attachments were very difficult and it took long to respond to the applicant.
- Payments made through telegraphic money orders often became stale before they were used due to the long procedure.
- The Register was handled by only one person hence causing difficulties in accessing and retrieving information of a teacher when required. 6) Teachers had to travel all the way to the headquarters (HQS) to check the status of their application.
- Some Registration Certificate got lost through the mail process, making the teacher have to pay for duplicate certificate.
- There were instances of duplication where one teacher was registered more than once and also teachers sharing a TSC number.
- Difficulties in establishing the baseline data of registered teachers by level and subjects.
It is this that led to the introduction of online registration.
e) Online Registration (2013 to date)
A teacher applies for registration through an online portal www.teachersonline.go.ke where they upload both professional and academic
documents as per the Code of Regulations for Teachers Regulation 23 (1), (2) and (3).
Procedure for online registration
- Applicants bio data including the postal address
- Fill the education background as well as uploading of the required certificates for verification
- For diploma and degree, one needs to upload the transcripts ∙ Upload identification card (both sides), passport photo and payment slip (if the payment had been done through NBK (account number provided on the application page).
- If the applicant has made payment using the Mpesa (business number provided on the application page), needs to only state the reference number. Application payment is Ksh.550 shillings only.
All the above documents need to be scanned before commencing the application to enable uploading. Originals can be used or certified copies of the same.
Verification and Approval
After application, all the documents go through the verification process where all uploaded certificates are scrutinized. Vetting of the documents is done to confirm the eligibility of the applicant for registration.
After verification, the applications are taken through the approval process and a TSC No is issued which is automatically generated by the online system.
The whole process of application to issuance of a TSC number takes approximately a month.
Applicants can access the application status online by using their ID numbers or passport number. After registration the certificate is mailed to the teacher.
Trend of Registration Online
The online registration started on 13th February, 2013 with the first issued TSC NO as 563168. To date the register has 693,735 registered teachers.