, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2 – The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Commission (KNCHR) now wants to mediate between the government and the Kenya National Union of Teachers in a bid to resolve a raging pay standoff.
The Commission’s Secretary Patricia Nyaundi on Friday said there was urgency to resolve the differences between the government and the largest teachers’ union to halt a second planned teachers’ strike.
Nyaundi explained the strike which compromises the quality of education also deprives children of their right to education.
“In an effort to resolve the looming crisis between our teachers and the government we have written to both parties providing mediation services helping them come to a solution that will secure the children’s rights,” said Nyaundi.
She added that the commission would take legal action if the stalemate was not resolved.
She however declined to give the specifics of the legal action they would take.
“Since 1998 the academic calendar in public schools has often been disrupted as teachers resort to industrial action to agitate for improved remuneration. We as KNCHR will seek legal solutions if both parties fail to agree effectively and efficiently,” she added.
A study done in 2012 dubbed Uwezo Kenya Report indicated there was a rise in illiteracy levels.
This can be blamed on the poor system of education and inconsistencies with teacher attendance to classrooms.
Nyaundi said that the government had a legal and collective role to create a conducive environment for proper development of children.
According to Nyaundi, the stalemate sets a bad example to children by demonstrating that matters cannot be resolved amicably.
“This does not augur well for the inculcation of national values and principles in children,” she argued.
The commission further expressed concern that even before the students settled back into class after the three-week teachers’ strike, the tutors were already planning to boycott their work stations once again.
“The cumulative effects of the strike have compromised the quality of education,” Nyaundi added.
In 2003 Kenya became an example for many African countries after they rolled out the Free Primary Education programme.
The programme also subsidized secondary school fees creating an opportunity for many Kenyan children to access quality education but the teachers’ strikes further threaten to compromise it.
The Jubilee government has been under pressure after lectures, doctors, nurses, teachers and civil servants threatened to strike demanding for improved remuneration.
Doctors and nurses called off their strikes after an agreement was reached but the rest are still planning to boycott work.