The History of the Teachers Service Commission dates back to the colonial times when teachers were employed by different bodies namely:
- The Missionaries and the Government for primary school teachers
- The African Teachers Service and the Government for both African and European secondary school teachers
The Kenya National Union of Teachers, established in 1957, an umbrella body of teachers found it unnecessary to have the decentralized system of handling teachers affairs. It therefore made it its priority to press for the employment of teachers by a central body which led to the establishment of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) under an Act of Parliament (Cap 212) of the Laws of Kenya in 1967.
Currently the TSC is established under Article 237(1) of the Constitution of Kenya (2010) as a Constitutional Commission and is mandated to perform the following teacher management functions;
(a) to register trained teachers;
(b) to recruit and employ registered teachers;
(c) to assign teachers employed by the Commission for service in any public school or institution;
(d) to promote and transfer teachers;
(e) to exercise disciplinary control over teachers; and
(f) to terminate the employment of teachers.
In addition the Commission shall
(a) review the standards of education and training of persons entering the teaching service;
(b) review the demand for and the supply of teachers; and
(c) advise the national government on matters relating to the teaching profession.
Effectively the Commission is set up into various departments and divisions that carry out specific Functions to implement the mandate of the Commission as stipulated. At its inception the Secretariat had a total number of 100 staff under one department who carried out consulting and coordinating services. It was during this time that formulation of policies was going on and subsequently the first draft of the Code of Regulations for teachers 1972 was drawn. It was later brought to parliament and first published in 1976 and latter revised in 1986. From the 100 members of staff with three Commissioners under the chairmanship of Mr. John Malinda who also doubled up as Director of Personnel Management the Commission has grown to a total number 2,900 staff members under seven directorates namely Accounts, Finance, Teacher Management, Administration, Information Communication Technology, Human Resource Management Development and Internal Audit. Its management procedures have undergone tremendous changes to meet the dynamic challenges of the our economy this has been realized through the continuous staff development and expansion of services and the leadership of the then three Commissioners who's numbers rose to twenty four and currently stands at nine in line with the Constitution of Kenya 2010 with its Chairmanship as follows:
- Mr. John Malinda (01.07. 1967- 28.02.1969),
- Mr. Zakayo Mwangi (01.03.1969 - 01.03.1983),
- Mr. Sammy Soi (02.03.1983 - 30.11.1999)
- Mr. Ibrahim Hussein ((01.12.1999 - 15.11.2011)
- Mr Mark.E.O.Oyoo (16.11.2011 - 30.03.2012)
- Mrs. Lucy Njeru ( 05.04.2012 -14.06.2013)
Since its establishment there have been a number of Commission Secretaries who are the Chief Executives. They have ensured effective and efficient Management of the Secretariat. This position has been held by:
- Mr. Muhoro (01.07.1967-30.04.1974)
- Mr. James Kamunge (01.05.1974 - 31.12.1977)
- Mr. Duncan Mwangi (01.01.1978-31.10.1980)
- Mr. Lijembe (01.11.1980 - 13.05.1982)
- Mr. Jackson Kangali (14.05.1982 - 25.02.1998)
- Mr. Benjamin Sogomo (26.02.1998 - 31.01.2003)
- Mr James E.O.Ongwae, EBS, OGW (01.02.2004 - 30.06.2004)
- Mr Gabriel K. Lengoiboni CBS (2004 to date)
With its growth and expansion the Secretariat has moved from its initial offices occupying two floors of College House opposite the University of Nairobi to the Cooperative House situated at the Hailselasie Avenue. It’s at this place that most of the expanding departments were housed until the devastating terrorist Bomb of August 1998 targeted at the American Embassy adjacent to Cooperative House forced the Commission out of the building. The Commission lost a number of staff and substantial documents after which they operated from the Jogoo and Bima House concurrently. To centralize its services the Commission moved to occupy fourteen floors of the Bazaar Plaza situated along Moi Avenue. In November 2009 TSC moved to its own building the TSC House in Upper Hill Nairobi which had been under construction since 2006. TSC house is located along Kilimanjoro road.
Initially up to about 1969, the process of salary payment was processed through the District Education Officers for the primary schools and the ones for the secondary schools were done at the Ministry of Education Headquarters. Due to the expanding demands of the teachers and growth of their numbers by 1972, centralization of the salary processing was vital hence all was brought under Teachers Service Commission.
Teachers Service Commission serves effectively all the 278,000 teachers who are geographically distributed all over the country serving in over 26,000 primary schools and 7,000 secondary schools and related tertiary institutions. To serve them all, the Commission has established units at the provincial and district levels as per the recommendations of the National Committee on Educational Objectives and Policies of 1976.
Services provided by the Commission since its inception has seen the teachers contributing a lot to the growth of our country's social, economic and political dimensions. Over time most have contributed largely in shaping the country's education and its future growth.