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Resolve dispute over teachers’ welfare now

Friday October 5 2018

EDITORIAL
By EDITORIAL
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The Teachers Service Commission and the Kenya National Union of Teachers have, once again, locked horns over transfer and appraisal of teachers.

There seems to be a lot of mistrust and bad blood between the two groups that, although they have rescheduled to meet in two weeks, it is unlikely that they will find common ground.

The differences run deep and bring to question whether it is personality-driven or principle-based.

It is unfortunate that the wrangles are coming at this delicate moment, when schools are getting ready for national examinations that are due in two weeks.

This shows insensitivity to what is going on in schools. Power struggle is dominating and over-shadowing important matters that require undivided attention.

GROWTH

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For several months, the TSC and Knut have been at loggerheads over the shifting of head teachers to different counties in a move intended to achieve two things.

First, end the practice where a head teacher stayed for a long period in one station and, second, ensure all regions are well-served with qualified head teachers.

Overstaying in a station, especially in a home county, breeds complacency and a sense of entitlement that undermine quality service delivery.

But as we have argued in the past, the TSC was squarely to blame for that odd arrangement.

Influential head teachers had devised ways of manipulating TSC officials and getting their way.

TRANSFERS

Transfers, however, should never be punitive. It is part of the job requirement and every teacher is acutely aware of that.

Nonetheless, it should be methodical and professional to avoid distractions and conflicts.

Similarly, the performance appraisal should never be a subject of acrimony.

It is standard practice in industry and teachers have no excuse not to adhere to it; they cannot purport to extricate themselves when it is a tool for service delivery.

However, it is troubling that such straightforward issues cannot be resolved amicably.

RESOLUTION

That TSC and Knut must fight before they agree on anything.

Yet, none other President Uhuru Kenyatta had directed that the two meet and thrash out their differences.

As they wrangle, there are even more intractable issues yet to be tabled, among them new pay package for teachers, which is bound to elicit even more hostility.

Indeed, the question is, why can’t the two organisations sit down and engage in meaningful negotiations?

The clash between the TSC and Knut has reached alarming levels.

We ask them to sober up, reflect and find an amicable resolution to the contentious issues.

The education sector cannot afford any distraction at this crucial hour, especially coming from a disagreement between the two organisations.

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