, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 14 – Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi says he will not revoke the gazette notice that gives him oversight over school head teachers, despite a seven-day ultimatum issued by a teachers’ union on Monday.
Speaking to journalists during an educational conference on Tuesday, Kaimenyi said adequate consultations were made and that a majority of the stakeholders wanted the regulations to be gazetted.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) have blasted the CS over the new regulations, but Kaimenyi argues that they only give him powers to check how head teachers manage public funds.
“This is not my decision alone. It is a decision by stakeholders and if one or two of them do not support what the rest are saying, what is remaining is for us to plead to them to hear what a majority of Kenyans are saying. This is because we believe in teamwork and the ministry has in no way taken a decision which is outrageous,” Kaimenyi stated.
He indicated that according to the regulations, it is the Teachers Service Commission that has the mandate to hire head teachers and that his role is to purely hold them accountable.
“I do not know why there are people against it. I have not taken away or given myself the responsibility of disciplining teachers, whether principal teachers or otherwise. That is the responsibility of TSC,” he said.
“All I am supposed to do as a minister is if in the wisdom of the board of management, they report to me that a certain teacher is misappropriating funds, then I am at liberty to tell them to step aside,” he explained.
He stressed that following investigations into an allegation, it is the prerogative of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to take any disciplinary action.
“When investigations are done in tandem with the policy in this country, my responsibility is to forward the same to TSC which is the disciplining authority as enshrined in the constitution. So this is an erroneous impression that the minister has taken powers, as if they are my powers. In any case, I do not derive pleasure in doing things which are unconstitutional. I believe as a good Kenyan, I should be law abiding,” he stated.
While conceding that the two unions disagreed with the rest of the stakeholders, he urged them to reconsider their stance as this would be for the benefit of all Kenyans.
“If you read the constitution under the Bill of Rights, everyone has a right to disagree but you have to do so in a civilized manner, not being personal, not insulting each other. Under the old Act, the TSC was under the Ministry of Education, it is no longer under the Ministry of Education. It is an independent commission. In past years, when TSC was under the ministry, the authority to incur expenses in schools was vested on the head teacher. Surely in all fairness, why would we not maintain this,” he said.
He reiterated additional benefits of the regulations saying that they would improve the management of schools across the country.
“We can’t be talking of transparency and accountability just as if they are mantras. These are realities. There must be accountability for whoever is in charge of any institution and teachers must be no exception to this. So in terms of again reviewing the constitution, we said we must retain that scenario so for heaven’s sake stop saying that the minister has taken the power of employing head teachers from TSC,” he stated.
On Monday, KUPPET vehemently opposed to the new regulations saying they give the Cabinet Secretary authority to hire and fire head teachers, a provision which was in contravention with the constitution.
KNUT has in turn asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to sack Kaimenyi for acting unprofessionally and bringing disorder to the education sector.