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Ruto tells North Eastern teachers to resume work

09 February 2015, 08:03

Wajir - Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday directed more than 1,000 teachers currently on strike over recent terror attacks in northern region to resume work.

Speaking in Wajir, which has been hit by clashes recently, Ruto said teachers who have refused to report to work over fears of insecurity have been given another chance to resume, adding that firm security measures have been put in place to ensure their safety.

"I want to give you my assurance that the government is committed to matters of development in this region just like in any other part of the country. The government will not discriminate any region on basis of religion, tribe or political affiliations," he said.

Most schools in northern Kenya, including Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties, have been hit by severe staff shortage, following refusal by the teachers from outside the region to return to their stations, citing insecurity and other hardships.

The teachers' agony follows two attacks by Al-Shabaab militants in late 2014 which killed 64 people in Mandera.

Some trade unions, including those of teachers and medical workers, were then advised to leave the area. The teachers seemed to have heeded their union's directive and have vowed not to return. They have maintained they were willing to work in any other part of the country except northern Kenya. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC), however, said it would sack the teachers if they failed to return to work.

Also read: Defiant North Eastern teachers risk losing jobs

On Friday, TSC advertised 1,089 positions left vacant by the teachers who have vowed not to report to their schools in the three counties.

But Ruto said the TSC has given a last chance to the striking teachers to resume and he hopes the teachers "will heed by the directive." He said the ongoing strike was subjecting pupils to untold suffering, urging the teachers to resume work.

"We should not compromise on the matter as children have a right to education," he said, noting that the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) should also balance between the rights of the teachers and that of the pupils.

"As much as KNUT agitates for the rights of the teachers, it must also know that children have a right to be taught," Ruto said.

He assured residents of northeastern region that the government was committed to the development of education, infrastructure so as to be at par with other regions in the country.

He also singled out plans by the Government to tarmac 200 kilometers of roads under the annuity program to link Wajir and Marsabit counties to ease transportation challenges in the region.

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- Xinhua


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