NAIROBI, Kenya, May 6 – Public schools re-opened countrywide on Monday with the Kenya National Union Teachers (KNUT) issuing a fresh strike notice from Tuesday next week over unpaid hardship allowances for teachers.
KNUT Chairman Wilson Sossion said that they are giving the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) seven days before they formally declare the strike which is likely to paralyse learning.
Speaking to Capital FM News, Sossion pointed out that the terms of references of teachers had already been negotiated and that it was unreasonable for their employer to go back on them.
“You cannot reduce the wage bill by reducing the benefits that are already negotiated and that workers are already enjoying. Therefore, this is going to invite industrial unrest. For us, we are accountable to the teachers of Kenya and we will not hesitate to take appropriate action on any infringement on the right of teachers,” he said.
He further stated that the provisions that they want put in place had been made into law and as such should be upheld.
“This business had been cleared by parliament and Kenyans must begin respecting the supremacy of our institution. Parliament is equal even to the court and that is why we cannot contemplate going to the courts because this is a matter that was properly ventilated, and properly investigated by the committee on delegated legislation and a report ably tabled before the house,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by KNUT Assistant Secretary General Mudzo Nzili.
“By law, when you reach a deadlock in reconciliation and a certificate of disagreement has been given, you have been given a license to either go to the Industrial court or to follow another approach,” he said.
“Our war is very simple. We need full implementation of legal notice number 534. It is a clean eight years since teachers started enjoying that money.”
In the meantime, parents and guardians were busy shopping for books, uniforms and other related items as others queued in banks to pay school fees as schools re-opened.
Most of them were also seeing off their children to the bus stations as they made their way back to schools following their April holidays.
Capital FM News spoke to a few students from Moi Avenue Primary school who are expected to sit for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations this year and they expressed optimism on their future aspirations.
“I want to pass my examinations this year. This term, I am aiming for 360 marks as last term I had 340 marks,” stated Duncan Odingo, a class eight student at the school.
“My holiday was somehow good and we have been revising for the term to come because we are about to do our examinations. I am optimistic that I will pass with flying colours,” stated Vanilla Makina his colleague.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has proposed tough new rules meant to enhance discipline in the public schools.
The new rules which have been developed in accordance with the Basic Education Act should start functioning this term as soon as the Attorney-General approves them.
If approved, the rules will ensure that head teachers keep a record of all corrective measures against learners and only the County Education Board can order the expulsion of a child or recommend the student for admission.
A parent who fails to send a child to school risks going to jail for one year or paying a fine of Sh100,000.
All parents and guardians will be responsible for sending their children to school.