The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will today 17th May 2021, launch an open process of biometric enrolment and validation of teachers in a hundred and forty-three (143) selected public schools.
The enrolment activity will be conducted in schools during the official learning hours between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. The commission states that the biometric registration will assist them in verifying teacher distribution and utilization in schools and to establish areas of teaching specialization.
Further, it will help them validate the enrolment in public schools and authenticate teachers’ biodata and employment records. The teachers’ employer listed the necessary elements for teachers during the exercise which commences today till 21st May 2021.
Teachers are expected to physically present the following five documents during the exercise;
- Certificate of registration
- National ID card
- Letter of the first appointment
- Letter of the last appointment
- Academic Certificates
However, this is a piloting exercise for the program set to be launched nationwide after resolving the bottlenecks which may emerge. The process, which was set for piloting in May last 2020, was temporarily suspended due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
At least 7 counties were identified for a pilot, which begins today with the national rollout tentatively programmed for August/September. The 7 counties include Uasin Gishu, Bungoma, Homa Bay, Nyeri, Kilifi, Kitui, and Garissa.
The selected counties were picked due to their presentation of both rural and urban setups, which will provide reliable lessons for the nationwide rollout. The piloting institutions were chosen to represent different geographical and socio-cultural settings.
“The biometric registration shall entail validation of data of teachers in all public primary and secondary schools, Teacher Training Colleges, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) and Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE),” reads the concept briefly.
Almost 143 selected schools will participate in this piloting stage. The schools include teachers training colleges, primary and secondary. TSC notifying a school on provisions for the exercise TSC boss Nancy Macharia stated that the biometric registration will improve tackling the issue of exam cheating.
It will necessitate enlisting teachers’ fingerprints, which can then provide for forensic and intelligence-led investigations in cases where examination documents are tampered with, and wherever cell phones and other gadgets are used in examination malpractices.
“TSC takes automation a notch higher by launching the biometric enrollment system to ease teacher identification and curb exam malpractices,” TSC posted on its Facebook page.
The use of biometric validation will help in justifying innocent teachers from being indicted for offenses they did not commit. According to the commission Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nancy Macharia, teachers would screenshot examination questions using their mobile phones.
“We are at the tail-end of finalizing our consultations with the office of the Data Commissioner on the rollout of the biometric capture of all teachers. “In the future, all teachers joining the TSC will undergo the biometric enrolment before they enter our payroll.”
Teachers’ data programs, as well as curriculum support officers in all regions, will also be taken. TSC will update the existing data on teachers’ biodata and approve the staff requirement in all public schools and teacher training institutes by size and learner enrolment.
“The exercise will also reveal teacher distribution based on subject combinations and will unearth staffing gaps that will inform training needs for various subject areas,” reads in summary.
The assumption of the exercise is that the captured data will expose how teachers are spread countrywide, a development that will inform the rationalization of the staff. “We shall ensure utilization of teachers and also balance areas that we shall feel are not well covered,” TSC Director of Administrative Services Ibrahim Mumin said during the 2020 stakeholders meeting.
This indicates that some teachers may be transferred for balanced staffing as electronic registration will expose an imbalance in deployment. The exercise will also expose teachers who avoid classes for unapproved reasons, as the TSC rolls out an initiative to hold its officers accountable through the biometric mechanism that will give up-to-date attendance data.
Throughout the stakeholders’ meeting, it appeared that TSC intends to get real-time clock-in data of teachers who attend classes, and absent ones trailed and observed through electric devices that will be established in schools.
The commission will also possess data of aging staff for effective planning for their exit. This also implies that teachers who forged their retirement age or those who may aspire to stay in service longer will be exposed.
Training of the committees, supervisors, coordinators, and, enumerators on the biometric registration was done in April last 2020. The arrangement of the tool kits for the activity has also been concluded and the registration training manual produced.
A stakeholders’ convention for public participation was conveyed in March last year and attended by teachers’ unions and, religious organizations, officials of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), development partners, and persons with disabilities.
The Council of Governors (COG), National Treasury, and Public Service Commission (PSC) officials also attended the meeting.
“We support this exercise fully and want it concluded well because it shall help TSC to plan better,” Knut secretary-general (SG) Wilson Sossion said at the workshop conducted at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).
The registration will uncover ghost staff who have over the years earned salaries from the Commission’s payroll. The results of the exercise will end the long-standing assertion that thousands of teachers have intermittently withdrawn salaries from the commission’s payroll over the years.
A report produced by the Efficiency Monitoring Unit in 2009 discovered a conflicting number of teachers in records submitted by the commission. A review of documents submitted to the unit by TSC revealed that over 20,000 teachers could not be accounted for.
TSC had 227,581 teachers in its November payroll versus 207,554 presented by provincial heads. The unit was to carry an analysis of dwindling compliance to the declaration of wealth by public officers.
In 2015, TSC was closest to smoking out ghost teachers when it contracted an insurance broker to administer a medical scheme. The firm rolled out a biometric listing where teachers enter their TSC number, national ID card number, and mobile phone number.
The idea was to cross-check the given information against the data with the communications Authority of Kenya, TSC, and the National Registrar of person databases to facilitate three-way matching.