EDUCATION

Exclusive: Reasons Teachers Give for Seeking Transfers Expose their Suffering

A list of teachers seeking transfer seen by Hakika News demonstrates the deep suffering that most teachers are going through.

The list emanated from schools in the larger Kisii County with over 300 teachers seeking a transfer for various reasons. The majority of the requests for transfers were deposited in the months of March-May 2021.

A number of requests for transfers are still appending with 70 cases withdrawn and 64 cases have been acknowledged by the teachers’ employer.

Reasons for teachers’ transfer

With the new emailing system which has been rolled out by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) teachers across the country now can submit their requests directly to the Commission by writing a mail to their employer.

Teachers have given a number of reasons for seeking transfer. A handful of the teachers are serving as Deputy Principals and HoDs, with the bigger majority being classroom teachers.

Teachers transfer: Overstay in a particular school

The list contained cases of teachers who have “overstayed” in a particular school.  In a few cases, there are teachers who have stayed in a particular station for 23, 21, 20, 17, 15, and 14 years. Others range from 5 to 11 years, with few cases having stayed in a school for only 1 year.

While the TSC directs that a teacher is liable for a transfer after staying in a station for a period of 5 years, there is no maximum limit to how many years one can serve in a particular school before seeking a transfer. But serving for 23 years in one station should be considered too much.

Most teachers seeking to be transferred due to overstaying in a particular station said that they need a new environment for a fresh start due to station fatigue.

Ageing, ailing parents

There are few cases of teachers seeking to be transferred to centres near their homes so that they can take of their ageing and ailing parents/ guardians.

One particular case reads: “An aged and sickly grandmother (86 years) her only children were my late parents.” Another case requesting transfer under the same read: “…sickly parents with serious medical issues.”

Other cases noted that they have parents with medical conditions and thus they need closer monitoring.

Insecurity

There are a number of teachers who are seeking to be transferred due to insecurity in the areas they are working in. One case explains: “Threats from in-laws due to delays in payment of dowry.”

Another one reads: “Psychological trauma after losing all my family members (wife and two children) for which I cannot [be] productive.”

Another teacher mentioned: “Age above 58 years; community not friendly, as [I ] am [the] only non-Kisii and [in] a remote village school.”

Still, on insecurity, another teacher espoused: “Hostile working environment; I was chased out of the school by the centre manager [reads: school principal] and the gateman ordered [not to allow me in the school.]”

Medical grounds

Other noble teachers mentioned that they needed the transfer on medical grounds. In this case, it is either a teacher who needed to move close to towns with better-equipped hospitals or to take care of ailing child/ren.

There were cases of teachers who need orthopaedic follow-up with others in need of spinal cord therapy.  Other teachers cited suffering from chronic bronchitis asthma, and hypertension, among others.

There are also notable cases of teachers suffering from psychological trauma due to the loss of loved ones, while others have suffered Covid-19 infection.

A number of teachers asked to be transferred to be with their spouses because their marriages were breaking apart.  Others claimed that they had separated from their spouses and needed to ‘work things out.’ And others stated that they had a young family that needs their attention and care.

However, not all teachers seeking transfer under this category wanted to be with their spouses. One particular case stated that: “Can’t stay in the same house with my wife because we usually disagree now and again. I need a new working station.”

The need to transfer teachers has been a thorn in the flesh between teachers’ unions and the TSC – in what the latter calls delocalisation. However, from the data accessed by the Hakika News, it is safe to say that there are so many teachers who have overstayed in some stations, outliving their productivity due to station fatigue. In normal practice, a teacher should automatically be transferred after 5 years of serving in a station.

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