News that the teachers’ union once again intends to call a strike to coincide with the forthcoming national examinations is, in my view, proof of a society that has lost its conscience, sacrificed it at the altar of greed for wealth and the good things that come with it.
We no longer care about one another and, above all, our children.
This is demonstrated by the many stories in the media of macabre actions against minors — neglect, torture, starvation, assault, sexual abuse and even murder.
Teaching is considered a noble profession, perhaps only second to medicine.
Teachers would therefore be expected to stand above everyone else in the way they conduct themselves — with civility. This has not been the case lately.
Not to say that teachers have lost their place and worth in society. My beef with them is with regard to the way they push their demands for better remuneration and other conditions of service.
Indisputably, teachers, like other workers, deserve fair compensation for the services they render and are within their constitutional right to demand it.
However, their timing for going on strike has assumed a familiar and rather ritualistic pattern.
The union seems to have a strategy for keeping a litany of grievances and waiting until this critical period in the country's calendar to strike.
Consider the synonyms of this word, “strike”. They are: Affect, afflict, attack, hit. Does this ring a bell?
The teachers, or their union leaders, fathom that the pain they inflict is widespread and engulfs the entire nation and not just the State.
This is perplexing not only to the candidates, whose future they place on the chopping board, but to us all.
That our children become the trump card in the war of the Titans — State versus teachers — is immoral and illegal.
With this mooted action, the usual chest-thumbing is back and it points only to one thing: The union and its charges do not care because, in all likelihood, none of them has a child in the public schools that suffer these painful disruptions.
Their age-old teacher-parent role is lost. All they care about is “better pay”. They ignore the fact that the economy is doing badly.
The government is on cost-cutting measures — no wonder the demand for a constitutional review to address unnecessary financial burdens on citizens.
Ironically, the same teachers are among the best-paid civil servants in the country.
It is high time that we, as a nation, sought an effective solution to the perennial strikes in important socio-economic sectors such as education and health.
Kenyans experience untold suffering as a result of standoffs during industrial actions, especially when these run into days and months.
Our candidates in the national examinations are already worried about the potential strike.
Kaima D.M. Ruiga, Nairobi.