The Kenya National Union of Teachers yesterday gave the government up to December to employ 85,000 teachers or be ready to face a backlash from its more than 240,000 members in next year’s elections.
The teachers also demanded the immediate signing of a portion of the 2013 to 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement on salaries and promotions failure to which they would call a national strike and vote for the Opposition during the General Election next August.
Knut;s first national vice-chairman, Mr Wycliffe Omucheyi, and Treasurer John Matiang’i told teachers to “be ready with our song” if the government fails to fulfill the two demands. They were addressing more than 10,000 teachers on the first day of this year’s Kenya Primary Schools Headteachers Association’s 12th annual conference in Mombasa.
But the Teachers Service Commission said there was no pending matter on the CBA, which it said had been fully signed.
The government was also addressing the shortages by employing 5,000 teachers every year since 2014, it said.
EARN AUTOMATIC PROMOTION
“When the union says there is a pending CBA issue, it is just being insincere. Everything was signed and we can only discuss the next agreement, which will be negotiated from next year. They are, however, right on the shortages, which we have been addressing gradually for the last three years,” said TSC head of communications Kihumba Kamotho.
On Monday, Mr Omucheyi said: “This Jubilee government has started showing us its back. It told us that teachers who attended a mandatory course would earn automatic promotion by October last year. However, it later made an about turn and said that only 6,500 teachers were promoted instead of the 23,000, who underwent the mandatory course.”
The teachers are said to have studied for a diploma in education at the Kenya Institute of Management in 2014.
Mr Omucheyi also criticised a decision by the Education ministry to spend Sh17.6 billion on tablets for primary school pupils.
“This government is having its priorities wrong. How do you buy laptops and not employ teachers? Are the laptops going to deliver quality education?” he posed.
More than 300 teachers in 150 pilot schools have, however, been trained and the government hopes to have taught at least three teachers in each of the 23,000 schools.
Mr Omucheyi also asked the government to release a scheme of service for technical and graduate teachers and harmonise housing allowances for those working in the same county.
Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang’ and Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion will today address the gathering.