, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22 – Teachers will now be hired on contract as the government moves to ease a shortage in many public schools across the country.
This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the ministries of Finance and Education with the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) on Thursday.
The implementation is expected to be undertaken by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
“The TSC shall be mandated to carry out the recruitment as per the provisions of the TSC Act. In the event that the Commission is to recruit more teachers on permanent and pensionable basis, the teachers serving under contract shall be given first priority,” said Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta who chaired the meeting.
The commission was directed to work on the mechanisms of how many teachers are to be hired and where they will be posted so as to facilitate the execution of the process expected to cost the Exchequer Sh2 billion. In addition, TSC is to come up with the modalities of how P1 A level teachers will be paid with effect from July 1, 2010.
In exchange for the deal, KNUT will be required to withdraw all the pending cases in both the High Court and the Industrial Court regarding the recruitment of teachers and payment of their outstanding dues.
Mr Kenyatta said this was a temporary measure that would be reversed as the economy continues to pick up. This, he said, was because the government took cognisance of the magnitude of the problem which has been exacerbated by the increased enrolment in both primary and secondary schools.
“This is an interim situation; as we work together to improve our economy and as it continues to grow, we intend to hire all our teachers on a permanent and pensionable basis,” he stated.
The Education Ministry and KNUT welcomed the move saying such an urgent measure needed to be taken to help improve the quality of education in the country.
Minister Sam Ongeri said this perennial problem was pulling back the benefits that the country should accrue from the introduction of the Free Primary Education as ratio of teachers to pupils was increasing very fast.
“Today we have reached an agreement which we all respect and honour and the modalities of its implementation is now left with the technical arm of my ministry. I have already given the necessary instructions that this process to start almost immediately in consultation with Treasury so that there is no hiccup,” the minister said.
The parties also agreed to be engaging regularly to address emerging issues affecting both teachers and students with the first meeting scheduled for October.