NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has issued a seven-day ultimatum for Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi to revoke the recently gazetted Basic Education Regulations, 2014, failure to which they will call a countrywide strike by teachers.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, KUPPET indicated that it is vehemently opposed to the new regulations which give the Cabinet Secretary authority to hire and fire headteachers, despite opposition by unions and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
The union emphasised that it is the mandate of Teachers Service Commission to oversee the welfare of teachers and the Ministry of Education will be overstepping its mandate if it assumes such powers.
“Unless he retracts and withdraws this gazette notice, we are not going to take it lying low. One thing that we are informing him is that we will subject the country this time round to an industrial action which will be against him,” KUPPET Secretary General Akelo Misori stated while adding that the TSC will be rendered moribund if the ministry goes ahead to assume its roles.
“We have given him basically seven days to retract this gazette notice. If this does not take place, then schools and other institutions which our members are involved in will be shut. They will not be opened to the second term. That is the simple issue that we are subjecting it to,” he stated.
He indicated that it is enshrined in the constitution that TSC will be responsible for the hiring and firing of teachers in the country.
“We do not expect a Cabinet Secretary operating within a field of serious stakeholders like KUPPET to unilaterally subject the nation to another embarrassing notice which is not pleasant to anybody. Teachers are employees of the Teachers Service Commission and its mandate should not be usurped,” he said.
KUPPET Kisumu branch chairman Zablon Awange described the move by the CS as unconstitutional and stressed that it remained the mandate of TSC to oversee the welfare of teachers and the Ministry of Education will be overstepping its mandate if it assumes such powers.
He explained that the gazettement will bring bad blood between the commission and the ministry and might jeopardize the function of TSC.
Awange argued that the Cabinet Secretary ought to have consulted widely with the education stakeholders before gazetting the regulations.
Nyanza Regional Parents Association chairman Jackson Ogweno also differed with the gazettement of the Act.
Ogweno said that under the constitution, TSC is responsible for the hiring and firing of teachers in the country.
Under the regulations to implement the Basic Education Act, the Education Cabinet Secretary will now have powers to sack primary or secondary school head teachers over improprieties.
According to the rules, his mandate shall be extended to heads of private schools, according to the regulations gazetted last week by Kaimenyi.
Currently, the elaborate disciplinary procedure of school heads is a preserve of TSC.
Ministry of Education officials can only make recommendations to TSC to take disciplinary action against a school head.