IN yesterdays The National, Education secretary Dr Uke Kombra said he suspended a number of secondary school principals for charging school fees despite the Government’s directive against that.
The authority mandated by law to suspend and charge teachers in the country is the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) and not the Education Department or in this case, the secretary.
Section 90 of the Teaching Service Act provides that if it is considered that a member of the teaching service who commits a disciplinary offence should not continue in the performance of his duty, the commission or an authorised person shall suspend the members of the teaching service (teachers).
In the teaching service, disobedience to lawful instructions by members of the teaching service is a serious disciplinary offence.
In the case of principals charging school fees contrary to Government’s directives, those principals would be in breach of the Teaching Service Act.
However, it does not give the Education Department or the secretary the power to suspend or charge teachers in the teaching service.
Only the TSC can lawfully exercise that power.
In 2019, the TSC, consisting of the three commissioners, delegated the power to charge/suspend teachers to certain officers within the Education Department and commission to carry out those functions.
In the Teaching Service Commission, these authorised officers include its legal officers, provincial advisers and assistant regional advisers.
Within the Education Department, the officers who are authorised by TSC to perform charging and suspension functions include school inspectors.
Therefore, it would be misleading for the secretary to report in the media that the Education Department has suspended principals for charging schools fees.
It would have been proper for the secretary to say that the TSC-authorised persons (inspectors and other officers) have suspended or charged principals for charging school fees.
Once again, the only authority in the national education system that is lawfully mandated with the power to charge/suspend a member of the teachings service is the Teaching Service Commission.
Teaching Service Commission