, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug18 – Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi says the Education Ministry will await the judgment of an appeal seeking to reverse the Employment and Labour Relations Court award of between 50 and 60 percent salary increase to teachers, before any action.
Speaking during a forum on education standards on Tuesday, Kaimenyi did however confirm whether teachers will be paid more, should the ruling be in their favour.
“We shall cross the bridge when that time comes but as a law abiding ministry and citizens, we really have no choice or rather, we must consider seriously whatever the court rules; that is the bottom line but I cannot speculate what will happen if the ruling is different from what we expect. Mine is to be very positive of a good outcome,” he stated.
He pointed out that the government has a right to appeal the court’s decision the same way as the teachers union and emphasised the need for patience as the judgment is made.
“Our plea to all parties is to give a chance to dialogue all the time and when the ministry speaks of encouraging dialogue and others choose not to do it, we feel very concerned. Again when it comes to due process or going to court, everybody including government has a right to go to court,” he said.
He emphasised the need for the courts to hear both sides of the story in the appeal since everyone had confidence in the Judiciary.
“The moment the government seeks that audience, it must be given time. If people went to court earlier on so that they can be heard, the government has to be heard also. It cannot be that people want to be treated preferentially when it comes to their concerns and yet when it comes to the government has certain concerns, there is war. Please let us all be the people in the forefront in promoting the use of the judicial system to address our concerns,” he stated.
While reacting to the threats by the Kenya National Union of Teachers to go on strike next month, the CS appealed for everyone to allow due process to prevail before making any move which may inconvenience both teachers and students.
“When you resort to strikes, it has its own consequences as you know chief among them being disruption of the studies of our children. Remember in our institutions we have children from abroad whether they be universities or otherwise. Their parents want to see them continue and finish in time. If you have these disruptive strikes, then you have a problem because you interrupt that learning process,” he said.
Kaimenyi in the meantime indicated that the government was doing all it can to address the teacher shortage in North Eastern Kenya.
“The other day the Teachers Service Commission sought to employ teachers who want to go and work there (North Eastern). Amazingly and we had over a thousand vacancies, less than three hundred applied for the jobs. TSC went a step further and tried to recruit retired teachers, but they sought not to go there… why? because of insecurity,” he said.
He underscored the need for a concerted effort from all stakeholders to ensure that the situation normalises.
“When a teacher says ‘I cannot go back’ or ‘over my dead body’ that is a challenge to all of us. We need to work as a team, as a country to beef up security and you heard the Cabinet Secretary for Interior Joseph Nkaissery say that it is going to happen. As a ministry, we are also going to do something about it,” he said.
“So North Eastern region is an area of concern. When of course learning is not going on we get concerned. We have heard instances where they say yes, postpone exams, do this… do that, have a special exam. I want to say that in due course, we are going to have a meeting with key stakeholders on the issue.”