NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 10- The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the government on Friday agreed on a deal that will end the four-day strike that has paralysed learning in public schools.
As part of the agreement, 18,000 teachers currently on contract will be absorbed into the service on permanent and pensionable basis next month. An additional 5,000 new teachers will be employed in January.
Knut Chairman Wilson Sossion said the deal was agreeable.
Mr Sossion said that the strike will be called off after a meeting of the union’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
“The greatest happiness of the teachers today, is that all the teachers who have been on contract will now convert to permanent and pension terms. This is a bold step for the government because the teaching force of the republic has been at a ceiling of 35,000. It shall now expand from this minute,” he said soon after the deal was struck.
On his part, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said: “As a government we had discussed and we had an offer on the table. We have worked within those confines and just juggled on what we had to arrive at today.”
“This financial year there is no such proposal aimed at increasing anybody’s taxes,” he added when asked if the government would be increasing taxation on Kenyans.
The deal was a culmination of frantic efforts made by the government seeking a formula to end the strike.
At least four meetings between top government and union officials were held, going late into the night, as some schools started sending pupils home.
The government team, which comprised top officials from the Treasury and the Education Ministry, tried to persuade the union officials to call off the strike to no avail.
The teachers had earlier rejected another government deal that was to open the door for the recruitment of 9,000 teachers on permanent basis.
Another 9,000 teachers were set to be recruited next year.
They were demanding that the government recruit 28,000 teachers on permanent terms.