Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Learning paralysed as teachers boycott classes

A standard seven pupil at Amani primary school in Mikindani Pauline Atieno breaks down in tears after she was sent back home by the headmaster following the teachers strike that has started officially today in this picture taken on 25 June 2013. Photo/LABAN WALLOGA.

A standard seven pupil at Amani primary school in Mikindani Pauline Atieno breaks down in tears after she was sent back home by the headmaster following the teachers strike that has started officially today in this picture taken on 25 June 2013. Photo/LABAN WALLOGA.  NATION

By NATION TEAM [email protected]

Learning was paralysed in most parts of the country as teachers heeded calls by their unions to down tools in a campaign for higher pay.

The majority of students and pupils stayed out of school but those who reported soon trooped back home as teachers stayed away.

In Lamu, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) branch executive secretary Bakari Omar Khalif said learning in secondary schools has been paralysed for the past one week since the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) called for a strike.

At Lamu Boys’ Secondary School, no other teacher reported for duty except the principal, Mr Khamis Kaviha, and his deputy.

In Mombasa, teachers criticised the government over failure to prioritise their programmes.

At the same time, teachers in Nyeri County, led by area Knut branch executive secretary Mutahi Kahiga demonstrated on the streets as learners who had reported to school remained under the care of class representatives.

Some schools, however, were lucky to have teachers from Kamwenja Teachers’ Training College who are on teaching practice who taught in the morning.

“We support the strike because we also expect to benefit in future but we don’t know what will happen if we are not assessed,” said Mr Zachary Mugo, one of the student teachers.

In Meru County, Knut branch executive secretary Julius Thaitumu asked the parents to take care of their children now that teachers are on strike.

Students at various public schools in Igembe South District had no teachers to teach them.

Elsewhere, teachers in Kirinyaga County criticised the government for failing to honour the 1997 pay agreement. They vowed to continue striking until their demands were met. Area Knut executive secretary Harrison Gichira said there would be no retreat.

“Teachers are fed up with promises which are never fulfilled and would not give up the fight,” he said.

Mr Gichira said the more than 4,000 teachers in the county were in solidarity with their colleagues across the country to press for their rightful dues.

In Muranga’ County, teachers were warned against engaging in unruly behaviour as they participate in their industrial action.

The Teachers Service Commission director in Murang’a, Mr Ibrahim Adan, said stern action would be taken against those who attack their colleagues who are in school.

Learning in public schools in Nakuru, Laikipia and Nyandarua counties was also disrupted yesterday as teachers boycotted classes.

Nakuru Knut branch executive secretary Kuria Njau and treasurer Anthony Njoroge urged the teachers to soldier on in their push for better remuneration.

In Kilifi County, primary school teachers yesterday downed their tools, paralysing learning at most public schools.

A spot check by the Nation in Baringo revealed that there was no learning going on at many schools, with learners left to study on their own.

Learning in public schools in the North Rift region was disrupted as teachers made good their threat to down their tools.

Teachers from Uasin Gishu County said they would frustrate the laptop project if the government goes ahead to give it priority at the expense of their salaries.

In Bungoma County, many pupils in primary schools were forced to go back home after teachers failed to report for duty.

No learning took place in five districts in Nandi County as the teachers’ strike started.

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