, NAIROBI, Kenya, September 8 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has rejected the plan by government to employ 20,000 teachers on contract basis.
The union termed the offer by Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and his Education counterpart Sam Ongeri as an ‘insult to the teaching fraternity.’
Secretary General Okuta Oliany told a press conference in Nairobi on Wednesday that the strike is on until tutors are hired permanently.
“The union wants to state that there is no such thing as an agreement between KNUT and the minister that exists. That agreement is a figment of Professor Ongeri’s imagination and we challenge him to produce that agreement,” he said.
He called on the government to launch fresh negotiations with the union to resolve the stalemate that has seen learning paralysed in most public primary and secondary schools.
“For the minister to come out and say that he wants to employ 20,000 teachers on contract again is not only an insult but also a show of lack of understanding of issues afflicting the education sector,” he stated.
KNUT went on to challenge Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to produce the signed agreement in which the unions had agreed on such a plan.
The union officials spoke as striking teachers continued with street demonstrations for the third day running.
The teachers have not heeded a return to work call by Minister for Education Prof Sam Ongeri with negotiations on a return to work formula hitting a dead end.
They have vowed to continue with the strike until the government employs an additional 28,000 teachers on permanent basis.
Meanwhile, demonstrations continued country wide as teachers accused the government of breaching a contract agreed between them way back in 1997.
In Nyeri, school pupils joined in solidarity with their teachers with the KNUT branch secretary Mutahi Kahiga saying they will not let the government to continue disregarding their needs.
In Bungoma however the demonstrating teachers were met with resistance when they tried to seek audience from the area District Commissioner.
In Baringo, teachers hit the streets waving placards and chanting songs, while in Thika town they marched to the DC’s office and later to area MP William Kabogo’s office both of whom were unavailable.
Through the KNUT executive secretary in the area George Gitau they said that the employment of more teachers is just one among the demands that the government must honour if they want learning to continue.
In Meru, they called for the sacking of Mr Kenyatta and Prof Sam Ongeri whom they accused of engineering the current standoff between the teachers union and the government.