All teachers will from January be required to renew their certificates every five years, the Government has said. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) also announced that it would no longer demote teachers.

TSC says the Teachers Service Commission Act requires renewal of certificates every five years. “Come January 2018 every teacher will be required to renew a certificate from the commission which will be renewed after every five years,” TSC chairperson Lydia Nzomo said.

Teachers who will be hired next year will be required to produce a certificate of good conduct, she added. “In the new module, teachers will be expected to produce certificates of good conduct since we need teachers who are trained, qualified and possess professional qualifications,” she said. The teaching profession, she said, was borrowing the practice from medicine and law where professionals renew certificates regularly.

Nzomo announced this at the 13th annual Kenya primary schools head teachers association conference in Mombasa yesterday where close to 10,000 headmasters and headmistresses are meeting.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) chairman Akelo Misori pledged to oppose the new regulations if they are harmful to teachers. Mr Misori claimed the union had not been consulted on the matter but was open to talks.

Ms Nzomo said the objective of the new regulation and focus of TSC’s policy was to boost morale and avoid humiliation of teachers through unwarranted demotions. Instead, TSC will strive to ensure teachers progress or achieve upward mobility, she said. It was not immediately clear how TSC would discipline errant or non-performing teachers and headteachers.

Nzomo said relegation demoralises school heads and lowers their self-esteem. “It would be unfair to degrade a teacher and they keep moving around the school, their colleagues knowing that they have been demoted,” she added. The commission would recognise the efforts of all teachers who need a promotion.