LOCKS STAFF OUT

Furious MP storms TSC offices over teacher shortage

Orders staff out, blames them for allowing non-local teachers to flee terrorism.

In Summary

• Ijara MP Sophia storms TSC offices and demands to know what staff is doing about mass transfer of non-local teachers fleeing terror attacks. Locks staff out with two new padlocks,

• Video of  Ijara MP goes viral: she addresses students of Haji Girls, calling nonlocal teachers names because they fled constituency for fear of terrorism. Said she stands by her words. 

Ijara MP Sophia Abdinoor addressing the press outside the TSC offices in Garissa town.she later addressed the press.
TEACHERS CRISIS Ijara MP Sophia Abdinoor addressing the press outside the TSC offices in Garissa town.she later addressed the press.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

The teaching crisis in Garissa was dramatised on Tuesday morning when Ijara MP Sophia Abdinoor stormed the TSC offices, ordered all staff out and locked them out with new padlocks

She blamed the Teachers Service Commission, the teachers' employer, for approving mass transfers of non-local teachers from the county. They said they feared for their lives because of terrorist attacks by al Shabaab. It has targeted non-local teachers and other non-locals, meaning non-Muslims.

Garissa subcounty TSC director Hussein Abdullahi Abdi tried without success to calm the lawmaker who blamed the TSC for the crisis.

Sofia ordered them out and used her new padlocks to ensure they didn't reenter.

A video of the MP went viral, showing her addressing Yusuf Haji Girls Secondary School and insulting non-local teachers who fled her constituency. Later she said she had no apologies to make and stood by her statements.

Addressing the press, Sophia said that it was unfortunate that most teachers arrive pretending to be looking for employment to serve the people.

"But in the back of their minds, they were using the opportunity to get jobs and flee at the slightest opportunity."

She said 15 teachers were employed on five-year contracts after the community pleaded with the TSC to employ them.

"After seven months they are running away, saying that our area is insecure. Most of the have businesses and families in Masalani,” Sophia said.

She said they have the blessing of the TSC.

Some schools have been left with one or two teachers. In many cases, the pupils are more than 400. How do you expect such schools to run? They will definitely be closed down.
Ijara MP Sophia Abdinoor

"They are cons and criminals who don’t deserve to be called teachers. They should be ashamed,” Sophia said.

She said the issue of insecurity has been blown out of proportion.

“I am a very angry a leader and mother seeing the suffering our young children are being subjected to by the teachers. This is just inhuman and acceptable,” she said.

Sophia said in her constituency alone at least 85 teachers from both primary and secondary schools have already left, crippling the education sector.

“Some schools have been left with one or two teachers. In many cases, the pupils are more than 400. How do you expect such schools to run? They will definitely be closed down,” she said.

Sofia said that as leaders they had come up with an affirmative action plan in which local candidates with C- and D+ are enrolled in teachers' training colleges.

She said a memo on the same was approved by the Cabinet only for TSC to go to court and revoke move.

“We had even volunteered as MPs to pay for their school fees through the CDF kitty in hopes this will address the shortage of teachers once and for all," Sofia said.

"Now see what is happening It’s the same TSC who are now withdrawing teachers,” she said.

She urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to personally intervene and save the situation which she described as a disaster in waiting.

(Edited by V. Graham)