Decentralization of the teachers service commission: Issues and challenges- a case of Muranga South District, Kenya
The Teacher Service Commission in an effort to redress the challenges in teacher management in the country reviewed the recruitment and deployment of teachers, and decentralized teacher recruitment and management. Experiences from developed and developing countries reveal little evidence on the extent to which decentralisation of teacher management improves teaching quality and learning outcomes; and that decentralisation does not necessarily increase teacher morale. Although teacher recruitment and management in Kenya was decentralized since 2001, perception of teachers on decentralization has not been looked into, yet teachers are among the main stakeholders in education. Without proper and frequent evaluation of such issues as teachers' perceptions and feelings, the government may be forced to follow the same path as countries like Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, all which saw policy swings back to centralisation after it became clear that there was inefficiency in handling teacher management at the levels to which it had been devolved. To address this problem, this study sought to find out the perception of this devolution to district and school levels by the teachers in Murang'a South District. To realize the purpose -of this study, a survey design was adopted. The target population consisted of 69 public secondary schools, 1,107 secondary school teachers, and 4 education officers at the District Education headquarter. Data were collected by use of interview schedules and questionnaires. Data were analyzed using both descriptive and statistical analysis procedures. The descriptive analysis procedures employed included frequencies, percentages, and means. The results were reported in summary form using frequency tables, pie charts and bar charts. The study established that secondary school teachers in Murang'a South District find the TSC agents at district and school level as effective in the general management of teachers, with the agents doing well especially in functions related to recruitment, promotion, transfer, and disciplining of teachers. However, a number of challenges hamper effective management of teachers at the district and school level through decentralization of TSC services. These include recruitment panels taking a long time to understand the process of recruitment; interference from stakeholders, politicians, teachers, relatives and friends; lack of qualified personnel; and poor transport systems. Therefore, it can be concluded that while teachers view decentralization of TSC services as a positive move towards improvement of service delivery, the effectiveness of this strategy is being hampered by the above mentioned challenges.