Two senior officials from Kenya National Union Teachers (KNUT) headquarters have warned the Teacher Service Commission to meet at least four very key demands by teachers before end of August failure to which Kenyan teachers will result to industrial action by 1st September.
Led by KNUT Assistant National Treasurer Ali Abdi Hussein and 2nd National Women Rep Jacinta Ndegwa, during this year’s Meru South KNUT branch Annual General Meeting as well as elections for four vacant positions, the unionists called on TSC to make haste and address the teachers’ demands to avert the looming strike.
KNUT now wants TSC to initiate the promotion of 30,000 teachers; immediately halt the delocalization process; forthwith withdrawal of Teachers Performance Appraisal Development (Tpad) and performance contracting for head-teachers.
Hussein said that since 2014 no teacher had been promoted despite having advanced their education which they did after having sacrificed a lot in terms of securing loans so that they could pay fees, leaving their families unattended while others had to part with some of their hard earned properties to afford fees for advancing their education.
He added that Tpad requires downloading voluminous documents from TSC website for filling yet some teachers work in remote areas with no internet and have to travel miles and miles to access cyber cafes and at other times the internet fails which requires a teacher to come back again resulting to waste of time which the teachers should have be in class offering their teaching services to their pupils.
“Currently we’ve four very burning issues which we demand the TSC to fulfill so that we can be on talking terms before schools are opened next term. Let them first promote 30,000 teachers who are already qualified for promotion upon advancing their education, stop delocalization as well as Tpad and performance contracting.” Said Hussein.
“Delocalization is meant to demoralize teachers as well as their families, its breaking families and separating them which impacts negatively on young children who really need both parents attention. Tpad itself which TSC is so much insisting on does not add any value to the teaching systems in Kenya because it wastes a lot teachers’ times when they go downloading loads of papers to fill without considering some of our teachers teach in very remote areas with no internet services nearby, requiring them to travel long distances,” said the KNUT national assistant national treasurer.
Hussein added that the earlier means of assessing teachers such as schemes of work and lesson plans were the best modes of assessing teachers’ performance.
Jacinta Ndegwa reiterated that delocalization has no human face as it was currently the main causative agent for family breakups as well as causing many illnesses like blood pressure and blood sugar to some teachers especially the elderly.
She said as KNUT they are completely opposed to the proposed common uniform for pupils and abolishment of boarding schools and wondered how pupils as well as students wearing same color uniform can be identified from which school they are from.
“Some proposals the government and TSC are dreaming about even without consulting us can’t work. One color for school buses is not bad because the school names are indicated on side of the buses in very big letters which are readable from far, but if pupils or students wear same color uniform no one can tell which school they come from. During school competitions like ball games, drama and athletics among others it can be difficult for teachers to identify their students let alone community members. We are therefore totally opposed to it.” Said Ndegwa.
Ndegwa also raised concern about plans to do away with boarding schools noting that it will have negative effects on students.
“Abolishment of boarding schools which we are also opposed to can negatively impact on the society. We shall have students raising families while in school because they’ll rent houses from where they are like to attend school from. Others will engage in vices like drug selling to make extra coin while others will abuse drugs being sold by their school mates. It’s a very noble idea when our children are in school and being watched by teachers at least for three months and then come home to be watched over by the parents for one month or so instead of letting them stay alone without the supervision of any adult around them,” said Ndegwa.
The two KNUT officials called upon their members to keep alert as they may announce the way forward soon since they’d on numerous occasions negotiated with TSC and nothing was arrived at.
Hussein said so far TSC has come up with about 82 new policies on education without consulting KNUT and that was likely to become a bone of contention between them if those policies are detrimental to teachers and the services they offer to Kenyan children.
Also during the same AGM, elections were conducted for four positions among them that of the chairman where Japhet Kathendu won after garnering 269 votes against his only rival Felix Muchai who had 141 votes.
James Nyangi, with 309 votes was elected assistant secretary against his rival John Kirimi who garnered 103 votes. The other two positions were that of Mwimbi and Chuka branch executive committees. Denis Murithi was unopposed in Mwimbi, while Mutembei Kathuma won the Chuka polls.