NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 4 – Concern is now being raised over the negative impact the ongoing teachers strike is having especially on candidates sitting standard eight and form four examinations starting next month.
Affected students have expressed fears that they may not be ready for the all-important examinations.
“There are no teachers until now and we are candidates. We are suffering and we are just counting days until we do our Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations,” said Christine Atieno, a class eight candidate at the Uhuru Estate Primary school.
“Our teachers are our captains and we need them most now. We would like to urge the government to please help us; we need to revise since we have got little time,” she pleaded.
According to the principal of the privately-owned Makini Schools Benedict Otieno, most of the syllabus in public schools will not be covered as a result of the strike and this may affect the performance of students in those institutions.
“It is definitely going to impact negatively on the candidates because the fact is that holiday tuition was outlawed so the candidates only have about one month to their exams,” he indicated.
He stressed the need for normalcy in public learning institutions to be restored as fast as possible so that students may not be affected.
“The issue should be resolved very fast for the sake of the child,” he stated.
A teacher at Uhuru Estate Primary school echoed his sentiments saying students in public schools will lose the most as the strike progresses.
“The school has been affected because if you look at the surrounding, this is just a slum area. This is ‘Ghetto Life,’ you cannot compare the kids here with those who are in private schools. In addition, private schools are not on strike and you need good results. How is this possible?” he posed.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) are demanding a 300 percent salary increment for their members, alongside responsibility allowance at 50 percent, 40 percent and 30 percent for principals and their deputies, senior teachers and heads of departments respectively.
Finance Minister Njeru Githae had ruled out a pay increase for teachers, instead urging them to wait for the Salary and Remuneration Commission to harmonise the wages for all public servants.
Public servants who have vowed to go on strike over pay include teachers, doctors as well as university teaching and non-teaching staff.
Meanwhile the striking teachers disrupted the ongoing Kenya Education Management Institute exams for school heads.
Primary and Secondary school head teachers sitting for exams at Ndururumo High School in Nyahururu were flushed out of exam rooms by irate KNUT and KUPPET officials as the teachers strike entered day two.
KUPPET Executive Secretary Ndung’u Wangenye and KNUT branch chairman Jackson Mugo said all teachers of both unions were required to stop all school activities and be in solidarity with their colleagues.
Similar exams were going on in the neighbouring Nyahururu High School but they stopped when word spread that union officials and striking teachers from Nyandarua and Laikipia were on their way to eject them.