No teachers, pupils in Kenya schools

January 20, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – The teachers’ strike entered day two on Tuesday with most schools remaining empty.

A spot check by Capital News revealed that many parents had withdrawn their children from schools.

“I have less than a hundred pupils out of over 600,” said a City head teacher who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation.

The Teacher Service Commission on Monday ordered school heads to conduct a head count to determine teachers present at their working stations and threatened that it would start disciplinary action on striking teachers, but there were no teachers in the schools for the roll call.

“No teacher has showed up today,” another teacher said.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers has mobilised its members for the boycott over a pay increase dispute. The union ignored a court injunction and pleas from education minister Sam Ongeri and went on to paralyse learning in primary schools.

Despite the disciplinary threat KNUT Secretary General Lawrence Majali maintained that the industrial action would go on unless the government presented a new acceptable offer.

Top union officials were locked in a strategy meeting on Tuesday morning.

“We are still receiving reports from the field so that we can prescribe a solution,” a close source at the TSC told Capital News on phone on Tuesday morning.

Teachers are demanding a one-off payment of 19 billion shillings in salary increment but the government has maintained it can only pay 17.3 billion shillings in three phases

The Teachers’ employer has swallowed humble pie and has in the last two days been engaged in consultations to chart a way forward.

“For primary schools it is a hundred percent empty, no doubt about it. We are now narrowing down to some secondary schools we hear are also affected,” our source confirmed.

The rival Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers last week accepted the offer and signed an agreement with the government and said that their members in secondary schools and tertiary institutions would not be party to the strike.

TSC has said it will withhold salaries of those participating in the boycott.

Labour Minister John Munyes has already constituted a conciliation committee to arbitrate on the tussle. TSC and KNUT were also scheduled to face it off at the Industrial court on Tuesday afternoon.


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