Teachers' strike looms over delayed appointment of TSC commissioners
16 July 2014, 13:14
Nairobi – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has threatened to call for a strike if the government fails to appoint the long awaited Teachers Service Commission (TSC) commissioners within seven days.
Knut Secretary General, Wilson Sossion said teachers have been suffering for the last four years because of the government’s failure to reconstitute the Commission leading to compromised delivery of quality teaching services.
“Knut writes to inform your office that in the interest of harmony within the teaching sector, immediate action should be taken to address the prevailing vacuum in the offices of the Chair to the Commission and the Commissioners,” Sossion said in a letter addressed to Education Cabinet Secretary, Jacob Kaimenyi.
He said Knut has continuously been receiving countrywide complaints from teachers that their disciplinary cases were taking hearing period of about 16 months contrary to the provided 3 months due to the shortage of presiding commissioners.
“We have been patiently watching the current impasse at the Commission, but teachers’ patience has now reached its limit,” said Sossion.
“We therefore demand that the Cabinet Secretary immediately takes measures to ensure that the vacant offices of the commissioners and the Chair to the Commission are filled. We expect this process to commence within the next seven days from the date of this letter, failure to do so teachers will be left with no choice but declare a trade dispute; which shall escalate into a nationwide strike,” he cautioned.
During the Union’s four-year wait for the reconstitution of TSC, Sossion stated that the teaching sector and the public have been subjected to service by an interim Commission that is hampered in its daily service delivery.
He lauded the government’s directive asking school heads to give out withheld students’ certificates for them to pursue their careers but challenged it to settle KES 5 billion demanded by schools.
He commended the government’s plan to offer free secondary school saying, “if setting aside KES 14 billion to pay for student’ fees, then that is a good move.”
Knut Chairman, Mudzo Nzili vowed to push for the nationwide strike if the government does not reconstitute TSC within the union’s given ultimatum period.
“We have been disturbed by the government for this long. Our patience has reached the end that is why we have also decided to disturb it until the teachers’ demands are met,” said Nzili.
The reconstitution of TSC commissioners has been hampered by various challenges including the Parliament rejecting the approval of names of vetted commissioners by the National Assembly’s Education Committee on allegations of regional imbalances and unfairness in the appointment process.
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