Exams on course, decision on school closure in a few days

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BY JACOB KAIMENYI

This statement has been necessitated by the on-going teachers pay dispute with the Teachers Service Commission that has affected the provision of education services in most Public Primary and Secondary Schools, National Polytechnics, Technical Training Institutes and Teacher Training Colleges.

After monitoring the impact of the dispute for over the past two weeks from the start of this school term on 31st August, 2015, it is evident that a large number of public school going children and other learners in our institutions staffed with TSC teachers have gone largely untaught.

Consequently I want to state as follows:
1. The Schools, Technical and Vocational Education Training Institutions are open. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology wishes to thank all the teachers who have remained steadfast in teaching and training our learners. For avoidance of doubt, the responsibility of closing schools in Kenya is vested in the Cabinet Secretary and not any other individual or unions. The Basic Education of 2013 Section 95(3)h, is very clear on this matter and l quote, “The Cabinet Secretary may make regulations with respect to the conduct and management of schools and such regulations may provide for educational calendar,” end of quote.

My Ministry will in the next few days give direction on this important matter.

2. The National Examinations calendar has not been reviewed by the Ministry. Consequently, I wish to reiterate once again that the said examinations will continue as scheduled. Towards this end, KNEC will release the National Examination timetable shortly, to enable the candidates focus more on the final preparations.

3. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology wishes to appeal to all teachers to go back and teach as directed by their employer, in the interest of our innocent parents and children, especially the ones who are slated to sit for the national examinations this year.

4. The Ministry wishes to advise all teachers in our motherland to take seriously the caution by TSC on the consequences of participating in unprotected strike, including loss of earnings and disciplinary action that could lead to termination of employment.

5. Security being central to a conducive learning and training environment, the government once again wishes to assure parents and learners that measures have been put in place to secure the learners, staff and property of our education institutions. As clearly directed by the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, any unprotected strike activities which threaten security in our schools will not be entertained.

6. As TSC has clarified severally, the Supreme Court did not direct the government to pay teachers as ruled earlier by the court of appeal. The truth of the matter is that Supreme Court didn’t make such a ruling and l quote, “This Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain an application challenging the exercise of discretion by the Court of Appeal under Rule 5(2)(b) of that Court’s Rules, there being neither an appeal, nor an intended appeal pending before the Supreme Court… ” Therefore, my Ministry appeals to unions and all leaders to speak the truth on this matter instead of misleading other Kenyans.

7. Finally, the Ministry supports the wise counsel by a section of Kenyans that all parties give dialogue a chance in order to conclusively address this matter taking into account the interests of our nation.

(Prof Kaimenyi, PhD, FICD, EBS is the Education Cabinet Secretary)

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