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Govt orders closure of all 8-4-4 schools due to teachers strike

All schools ordered to close on September 21, 2015.

All schools ordered to close on September 21, 2015.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 18 – The government has ordered the closure of all public and private schools on Monday next week, citing the ongoing teachers’ strike.

A statement from the Ministry of Education pointed out that it is no longer necessary to have schools opened because no learning is taking place, in public schools.

This directive, however, does not affect schools that do not teach the 8-4-4 system.

“The revision of the term dates for Primary and Secondary schools has been necessitated by the fact that very little or no teaching and learning has been going on in most of these institutions in the last three weeks with the exception of examination classes. As a result, tension has been building up among learners who have been left idle under the care of very few teachers. Some incidences of insecurity in schools have been reported by head of institutions and field officers during the period,” Acting Secretary of Education Leah Rotich stated.

“In order to safeguard the security of the learners, staff and school property, and thus address the concerns of parents and other key stakeholders, the Ministry has revised the term dates as stated above and other term dates will be communicated in due course.”

She indicated that this will further safeguard the security of the learners, staff and school property during the ongoing dispute with teachers.

“The Ministry wishes to thank al teachers who continue to assist prepare the 2015 candidates for examinations. It is expected that TSC teachers who are in school and BOM (Boards of Management) teachers, will continue to teach and prepare KCSE and KCPE candidates. Those already engaged in KNEC examination management will also be expected to perform their duties as per the KNEC Act 2012,” she said.

Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang however, says the national examinations for Form Four and Class eight will go on as scheduled.

“The Ministry and Teachers Service Commission continue appealing to our teachers that yes, we have prepared these children for the last 12 years for our form four candidates and the last eight years for our class eight candidates not withstanding the dispute that is there, let’s be the parents, the guardians, the brothers, the sisters and grandparents that we are of these children,” he said.

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KNEC launched the 2015 national examinations timetable even as the deadline for striking teachers to go back to class or be removed from the payroll elapsed on Friday.

The strike caused a standoff between the government and teachers with the Ministry of Education insisting that the examination calendar for primary and secondary education will not be rescheduled.

Following heated exchanges by both sides, the Industrial and Labour Relations Court urged the TSC from threatening teachers and the Unions from making remarks meant to incite the tutors.

Despite the situation, Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said KNEC will release the timetable to enable the candidates focus more on the final preparations.

In the meantime, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers has petitioned the National Assembly to consider requesting for Sh17 billion from Treasury to give teachers the pay rise awarded to them.

Secretary General Akello Misori stated that they had asked the National Assembly to invoke part of the Constitution that allows Parliament to appropriate funds through a supplementary budget.

He indicated that even though the courts had warned teachers and their employer against threatening each other in the dispute over increased pay, they still had the right to strike.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers formally commenced a nationwide teachers strike three weeks ago over the salary increment row with the TSC.

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