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Paid leave for teachers seeking PhDs

Thursday October 16 2014

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi (right) and a Unesco official Dr Evangeline Njoka during a media breakfast Thursday. He appealed to teachers to avoid a strike. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE  NATION MEDIA GROUP

BENJAMIN MUINDI
By BENJAMIN MUINDI
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Teachers pursuing doctoral studies will be granted a paid study leave, according to a status of the negotiations report seen by Nation Thursday.

Staff transferred to other stations will receive a month’s basic pay as disturbance allowance.

These are some of the 37 demands by teachers’ unions that the government has offered.

It is not clear at this stage how much this offer(s) will cost the government since it remains subject to the willingness of the teachers to pursue doctoral education.

Other smaller demands that the government has given the green light include accommodation and night out allowance whose rates will be determined at the school level by boards of management.

However, the State has declined to allow teachers who leave for political office to return to class. The report stresses that the teachers will have to resign first as required for by the Elections Act and the code of regulations.

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The report also shows that although the unions have toned down their demands for 300 percent salary increase to between 100 and 150 percent, the government has not given into the fresh demands.

KEY ALLOWANCES

On key allowances such as house, commuter, annual leave and responsibility, the report notes that the teachers would wait until after a current study on allowances by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission is complete.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has demanded a 50 percent increase of teachers’ basic salary on house allowance, 10 percent for commuter allowance and 30 to 40 percent for responsibility allowance depending on the level of the teacher.

“… Any negotiations on terms and conditions of service that have financial implications must take into account key economic factors including affordability and sustainability,” the report reads in part.

But although the union demands are far from being met, candidates sitting this year’s national exams have been assured that the tests will not be disrupted by a teachers’ strike.

Knut Thursday said it has postponed plans for a work boycott until the exams are complete.

This came as the examinations council said that it had made plans for a standby team of invigilators and supervisors should teachers resort to a strike.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers has planned a strike which might be called next week after a meeting with the union’s top advisory organ.

Form Four exams start on Tuesday where 485, 547 candidates will write the tests, while 889, 107 sit the Standard Eight exam on November 4.