NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 30 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has issued a seven-day strike notice if Parliament fails to pass budgetary allocations for the permanent employment of 28,000 teachers who are currently on contract.
KNUT Secretary General David Okuta told Capital News outside Parliament buildings that the quality of education was deteriorating as teachers were overworked, and the union would not allow the Finance Minister to reduce the allocation for teacher recruitment.
“We have already issued a strike notice in accordance with the law and in seven days time if this matter is not resolved we will go on strike and we call upon parents and the public to support us because standards are on the downward trend. The teachers in the classrooms have very much to do,” said an agitated Mr Okuta.
“We have a shortage of 79,000 teachers; this 28,000 is just a drop in the ocean! The minister for Finance went through the backdoor through the Budget Committee to remove that allocation. Teachers are not going to be employed and even the annual teacher transfers are not going to be effected,” he complained.
The union led a section of teachers in staging demonstrations outside Parliament buildings petitioning MPs to support their bid. They occasionally blocked MPs from accessing Parliament buildings in their official vehicles until they were addressed.
Police presence did little to water down the resolve of the teachers to make their demands known at Parliament buildings as they stopped every car entering the precincts as they shouted down MPs who have refused to pay their taxes.
Mosop MP David Koech who is the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Education assured the teachers that their bid will be supported by his committee.
“I want to indicate to you that we have done what we have done we will try to do much, unfortunately Tuesday is the last day for the Committee of Supply so we will not have the time to debate every vote. You have every right to demonstrate and wait outside Parliament for the outcome,” urged the teacher turned legislator.