Teachers now want talks with their employer on the implementation of professional development programmes.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) have called for an urgent meeting with Teachers Service Commission (TSC) chief executive Nancy Macharia to agree on modalities for teachers' professional development programmes.
Kuppet Secretary General Akelo Misori said the commission, and not teachers, should fund the exercise.
"While professional courses will play a central role in teachers' promotion and remuneration in future, the TSC has an obligation to source for funds for training.
"The programmes would also impact the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) governing terms and conditions of service for teachers," said Mr Misori.
He added that the union would urge the TSC to allow more universities to offer the programmes.
"By their very nature, the courses are simpler than the pedagogical training that many universities already offer," he said.
Already, the commission has contracted Kenyatta University, Mount Kenya University, Riara University and the Kenya Education Management Institute (Kemi) to offer the programmes.
National Assembly Education Committee member Geoffrey Odanga asked the commission to involve all sector players before rolling out the programmes.
Mr Odanga, who is also the Matayos MP, said the TSC should cater for the cost of training.
"We want TSC to involve more service providers so that teachers do not incur extra costs while undertaking the programme," said the MP.
Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion said the union was not involved in the development of the programmes which the commission plans to roll out.
"The union strongly feels that the programmes will alter the terms and conditions of service for our members, hence Knut should be engaged fully prior to rolling out the programmes," said Mr Sossion. He said the programmes should not be used to replace certificates, diplomas, degrees and other qualifications that have over the years been used to upgrade and promote teachers.
"Knut will not support an illegal policy that would in the long run harm teachers.
"In the same vein, we will not allow TSC to get away with bad policies," said Mr Sossion in a statement. He called on Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui to intervene, with a view to bringing the dispute to an end.
On Wednesday, TSC head of communication Beatrice Wababu downplayed the row, saying there was no need to panic since more engagements will take place.
The commission has been training educators from the four universities who will train teachers at the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (CEMASTEA) in Nairobi. Each of the 318,000 teachers employed by TSC will have to undergo training six times in their career as well as 154,000 teachers employed by private schools.
Those in the service will be trained after every five years and a teacher will move from one level to the next until the sixth.
Each teacher will be required to complete seven sections of module one in order to be recertified.
The contract to offer training will be for a period of two years.
According to TSC, each teacher will pay Sh6,000 for training, assessment, monitoring and evaluation.
"The institutions will be wholly responsible for collection of the fee directly from teachers. The commission will not be accountable for non-payment of fees by any of the teachers or instructional leaders," reads the agreement between TSC and four training institutions. A teacher will take a minimum of 42.5 hours of professional development, which will consist of five days of face-to-face sessions per year and two online sessions.
All sessions will be carried out during school holidays. Face-to-face sessions will be undertaken at the 290 sub-county training centres across the country.
Online sessions will be undertaken through the virtual learning management system.
Training institutions will carry out psychometric tests to identify unique competency gaps among teachers.
"This will be undertaken through the university online assessment centres," reads the agreement.
Transcripts will be issued at the end of each chapter and a certificate upon completion of a module.
Any teacher who fails to go for the short courses will be deemed to have violated TSC regulations.