Under Article 237(2) of the Constitution, the Commission is mandated to perform the following functions:
· register trained teachers;
· recruit and employ registered teachers ;
· assign teachers employed by the commission for service in any public school or institution;
· promote and transfer teachers;
· exercise disciplinary control over teachers;
· terminate the employment of teachers;
· review the standards of education and training of persons entering the teaching service;
· review the demand for and supply of teachers; and
· advise the national government on matters relating to the teaching profession.
Over the years, the Commission has greatly grown in size and operational capacity. From only 37,000 registered teachers in 1967 the number in the Register of Teachers has grown to more than 600,000 in 2014. Of these, 293,000 are employed by the Teachers Service Commission while others are engaged in private schools, non-governmental organizations and different government agencies.
The Commission has a secretariat that manages the affairs of teachers. Operations of the secretariat have been enhanced through creation of specialized departments and divisions. From its inception in 1967 the secretariat has grown from 100 to over 3000 officers in 2014.
Although the Teachers Service Commission was established in 1967, its history dates back to the 1950s when teachers led by retired President Daniel T Moi vigorously fought for the formation of one teacher body.
Following the formation of the first teachers union in Kenya – the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) in 1957 there was sustained agitation for the creation of an umbrella body to manage the affairs of all teachers. At the time, teachers were employed by either; missionaries, local authorities or the Central Government which led to a great disparity in remuneration and other terms and conditions of service. In 1964, The Kenya Education Commission Report (The Ominde Report) strongly supported the need for a competent, respected and contented teaching force. As a result of these factors, the Teachers Service Commission was formed in July 1967 through an Act of Parliament to give teachers one employer and uniform terms and conditions of service. It was charged with the mandate of registering, employing, promoting, disciplining and paying teachers.