Teachers on Wednesday walked out of a mathematics and science training course in protest against poor accommodation and lack of a daily allowance.
At least 200 teachers who had converged at Njonjo Girls and Nanyuki Boys high schools for the Strengthening Mathematics and Science in Secondary Education (Smasse) seminar refused to sleep in their designated dormitories and went home.
Another group in Asumbi Girls National School, Homa Bay stormed out of the training hall when they were told they would be accommodated in dormitories and would not be paid daily allowances.
Consequently, the seminar, whose theme was “Information Communication Technology (ICT) integration in Education” was disbanded on Monday.
“For how long are we going to sleep in dormitories like students while the Ministry of Education has been allocated money to accommodate us in decent hotels?” asked an angry teacher at Njonjo Girls.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Laikipia branch executive officer Wangenye Ndung’u led the teachers in boycotting the seminar.
“We are not against the seminars but the way it is administered,” said Mr Ndung’u.
The union official said that former Education permanent secretary James ole Kiyapi had issued a circular on March 12 instructing all district education officers (DEOs) to include the union officials in the seminar’s planning committees.
“The DEOs ignored the circular and did not including union officials,” said Mr Ndung’u.
In Homa Bay, the chairman of Smasse planning committee, Mr Benjamin Mauko, termed the demands by the teachers as not only outrageous but untenable.
“Where on earth are teachers paid Labour Day and daily allowances during a training workshop?” posed Mr Mauko, who is also the Ndhiwa district education officer.
He also pointed out that according to laid down rules, teachers attending the Smasse workshops are supposed to sleep in government institutions not local hotels.
“Teachers who boycotted the training will face disciplinary action,” warned the education officer. But the seminar boycott teachers scoffed at the threats saying they were employed by school boards, not the government.
Area union boss Eliud Ochieng defended the teachers and dared the DEO to interdict them.
The officials also asked Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to withdraw their sponsorship of the seminar until the issues raised are addressed.