Nairobi — More than 19,000 teachers have been promoted in Kenya in the last one and half years, the Nation has established.
Of these, 3,373 were promoted between January and June alone according to official data from the Teachers Service Commission, which employs and promotes teachers countrywide.
The others were promoted last year bringing to 45,671 the number who have been promoted in the last five and half years through what the commission called "competitive rules" of career progression.
When teachers move from one grade to another, their salaries increase also go up because they move to newer grades.
Under the programme meant to increase meritocracy and transparency in the profession, each of the teachers has to interviewed competitively after applying for positions advertised through the media.
The adverts are usually published after vacancies arise in the service.
Suitable applicants are usually invited for interviews at the commission's headquarters and those who satisfy the panel are given their new grades.
Last year, 15,999 were given newe positions compared to 11,297 in 2007. Earlier, the commission had promoted 78,204 primary school teachers who had A level qualifications but had served in one job group for 15 years.
Of those promoted this year, 3,047 moved from job group M to N. Group M comprises senior graduates, including technical teachers with diplomas.
A look at the statistics, however, reveals that few teachers were promoted at the top of the grades since there are fewer vacancies.
For example, whereas 3,047 teachers have been promoted from job group L to M since January, only seven were elevated to the highest grade (R) over the same period.
Only 167 have been raised to job group Q from P.
The news or the promotions came soon after a new TSC survey showed teachers wanted better salaries and faster promotions if the government is to stop staff migrations from public schools to other jobs.
The teachers had also asked for a review of the methods used to recruit and reward hardworking teachers if TSC was to become an employer of choice.
Promotion procedures, they said, were slow and merit was not usually considered. "The most discouraging factor for teachers was revealed to be low remuneration and stagnation (in the same job grades)," said the Employee/Customer Satisfaction Survey dated June, 2009.
Overall, the survey, conducted by Tetralink Taylor & Associates on behalf of the TSC, said teachers were fairly satisfied with the process of registration of new staff. They said the process of hiring was "credible, professional and fast".
Before last month, workers in job group M were earning between Sh24,650 and Sh33,010 per month. Teachers in the group will now earn between Sh32,240 and Sh40,947 per month under the new salaries whose implementation began last month.
The 11,800 teachers who have been moved to job group M from L will be earning between Sh28,900 and Sh36,956, up from the previous salaries of between Sh24,650 and Sh33,101 per month.
Job group N comprises principal graduate teachers and principal lecturers II who earn between Sh32,240 and Sh40,947, according to the new salaries effected last month.
Before last month, workers in this job group were earning between Sh26,510 and Sh35,155 per month. In job group P are teachers who are principal lecturers I and principal graduate teachers I whose salary rose to between Sh44,061 and 55,790 from between 30,915 in the new financial year which began in July. Before that, they used to earn Sh38,715 per month.
Job group Q comprises principal graduate teachers and principal lecturers who, according to the new pay, now earn salaries ranging from Sh51,416 to Sh64,574, up from between Sh34,010 and Sh41,660 in the last financial year.
Starting from last month, the highest paid teacher - a chief principal - earns between Sh44,990 to Sh75,102, which represents a 67 per cent increase from 2008. The lowest paid chief principal will earn between a Sh36,790 to Sh59,768.