Knut and MPs clash on 'inhumane' teacher transfers

Tuesday March 26 2019

knut

Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion at a past function. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

OUMA WANZALA
By OUMA WANZALA
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National Assembly’s Education Committee on Tuesday clashed with teachers union officials over the controversial delocalisation policy.

MPs took umbrage over comments made by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) assistant-secretary general, who accused Teachers Service Commission (TSC) of failing to consult them when it formulated the policy.

The Knut official, Mr Clement Omollo, told MPs that there is no single advantage brought by delocalisation of teachers and the policy is inhumane.

"We ask that transfers be restricted within home counties so that teachers can be near their families," Mr Omollo told the committee.

The Knut official’s comments generated a heated debate after committee members demanded Mr Omollo backs up his claims with evidence, accusing him of peddling lies on the transfer procedures.

Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion, who is an Orange Democratic Movement nominated MP, was ruled out of order by the committee chairman Julius Melly after he attempted to side with arguments advanced by the union.

Mr Sossion is also a member of the education committee.

'INHUMANE' PROGRAMME

TSC introduced the programme in 2017 and thousands of teachers have been transferred.

But the programme still faces criticism as teachers affected by transfers are usually separated with their families, some leading to marriage break ups.

Teachers are often posted far from home counties, making life harder for their families.

The policy is being implemented amid an acute shortage of teachers in public schools.

In May 2018, TSC boss Nancy Macharia released new guidelines demanding tutors serve at least five years in the counties where they are posted before they can seek a transfer to their preferred regions.

TSC had also faced a crisis when teachers fled North Eastern counties such as Mandera, Garissa and Wajir over attacks and hostility from locals.