, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers has directed its members not to participate in any performance appraisals or contracting until otherwise advised.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion says that while they support the idea of performance contracting, they have a responsibility to ensure the interests of their members are protected.
“KNUT is not opposed to any policies or concept or international practice which will assist to raise the education standards. The reason we are calling on the commission to put the exercise on hold is to agree on the format to be used.”
He says the law requires the Teachers Service Commission to involve them when undertaking such an exercise and therefore wants KNUT consulted on how the appraisals should be carried out.
“Anything short of this will have violated the Constitution which encourages equal participation by stakeholders,” he said.
TSC is scheduled to commence performance appraisals and contracting for head teachers on Monday.
The exercise is intended to raise the quality of education in public schools with assessment reports released in the last few years showing a decline.
The Uwezo Kenya annual learning assessment report released in 2015 for instance shows that one in ten class eight pupils is unable to perform class two arithmetic.
KNUT has in the past blamed the decline on difficult to manage class sizes occasioned by the introduction of free primary education.
A problem they say can be resolved through the employment of additional teachers. But it’s an argument which former Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi contested following the release of a UN report which showed that Kenyan class sizes were average for Sub-Saharan Africa.
A report released by the National Taxpayer Association in 2014 went further to accuse public school teachers of absconding duty saying they spent about 50 percent of the school day out of class.
The Jubilee government has also put forth the argument that appraisal and contracts will ensure teachers are remunerated commensurate to their performance.
KNUT has however expressed concern that it could curtail their members’ freedom to take industrial action.