New school term hit as teachers stay away - Daily Nation

New school term hit as teachers stay away

Monday September 3 2012

By NATION TEAM [email protected]

School activities have been paralysed as teachers went on strike to demand for more pay.

The teachers defied a court order issued on Friday declaring the strike illegal and failed to report to the more than 30,000 public primary and secondary schools countrywide.

A survey by the Nation established that no learning took place on the first day of Third Term.

Some parents picked up their children from school upon realising that they were not being attended to. (SEE IN PICTURES: Teachers'strike)

In Nairobi, Education minister Mutula Kilonzo asked teachers to go back to class, saying the strike undermined the interests of children who were now protected by the Constitution.

He said the teachers risked severe disciplinary action should they ignore the court order as the strike they had called was unconstitutional.

Addressing a press conference at Jogoo House, Mr Kilonzo, acknowledged that teachers had legitimate grievances but pleaded with them to comply with the court ruling.

He said he had received the teachers’ grievances from the Teachers Service Commission and that he would forward them to the Cabinet for discussion. (READ: Mutula seeks Sh13bn to pay striking tutors)

He asked the Kenya National Union of Teachers, one of the unions that has called the strike, to exploit the mechanism the Constitution had provided to handle the dispute.

Public schools remained closed in Nakuru, Narok, Laikipia and Nyandarua counties. Some pupils had reported to school in the morning but returned home on finding that teachers had downed their tools.

In Nyandarua, Knut officials disrupted a meeting of head teachers convened to discuss modalities of sitting for a management course examination.

In Nakuru, school uniform shops, bookshops and supermarkets recorded low business as parents and pupils stayed away.

In Narok, a demonstration by teachers paralysed transport along the Nairobi-Narok-Bomet road for three hours. It was led by Narok Knut executive secretary Denis Rakua.

In Kisumu, teachers assembled at the union offices and later took to the streets to demand better pay. At Arina Primary School, only Standard Eight pupils were in class, studying without teachers.

Kisumu Knut chairman Joash Ogallo said that teachers were hurting as their salaries stagnated despite the hard economic times.

He said Mr Kilonzo, Public Service minister Dalmas Otieno and Education Assistant minister Ayiecho Olweny should resign for failing teachers.

In Migori County, all public schools in Migori, Nyatike, Rongo, Uriri, Awendo, Kuria East and Kuria West districts remained shut. A few learners who reported were told by guards to return home.

Education officers in Kakamega county moved from school to school to ask students who had reported to go back home.

In Matungu, Butere and Mumias districts, teachers converged at Knut offices where they were advised by union leaders to stay away from schools until the government addresses their plight.

Kakamega county Knut chairman Patrick Chungani said his team would not allow the exam prepared by the Kenya Education Management Institute to proceed when the government was not ready to address their demands.

In Kisii, the strike paralysed the examinations at Nyanchwa Adventist Training College.  In Busia, Knut branch official Mark Oseno said the strike will go on until their demands are met.

Bomet county education director Isaac Shaviya warned that teachers will not be paid salaries for the period they will be on strike. In Kabarnet, Baringo Knut officials said that teachers will not relent until their demands are met.

The strike affected learning in Pokot, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties after teachers failed to report to work. In Nandi North District all the 170 primary schools and 44 secondary schools did not open. In Trans Nzoia, students turned up for the third term only to find no teachers.

By Lilian Ochieng, Moses Aliwa, Benson Amadala, John Shilitsa, Linet Wafula, Jackline Moraa, Henry Nyarora, Maurice Kaluoch, Elisha Otieno, Godfrey Ombogo, Geoffrey Rono, Wycliff Kipsang, Barnabas Bii, Erick Ngobilo, Jonathan Komen, Philip Bwayo, Tom Matoke, Francis Mureithi, James Kariuki, George Sayagie and Simon Siele