Schools come alive after teachers’ strike ends
Public schools have reopened after a month-long strike by teachers, but the relief for students and parents has given way to other concerns about the shortest and critical term of the school calendar year.
On Monday, parents and their children flocked to bus stations as boarding schools reopened, while schools that were ghost centres for the past few weeks suddenly came alive with ringing of bells and cheering as excited pupils played at break time.
But of immediate concern is whether students will make up for the lost time, especially those scheduled to sit for national examinations.
Newly recruited teachers in Machakos turned away
Teacher recruits who were issued with appointment letters last week got a rude shock when they went to the Teachers Service Commission offices in Machakos County for job confirmation only to be told to go home. The recruits had been issued with employment letters indicating the schools they were supposed to report on Monday.
However, upon returning the letters to the TSC offices, they were turned away. They were advised to leave the documents at the office and go home to await word from the director. Some of the recruits said they had come from far and had spent a lot of money, some of which was borrowed.
Financial crisis hits schools as parents withhold fees
As learning resumed in public schools, headteachers say schools face a financial crisis.
James Okoyo, chairman of the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association in Rarieda, said most schools are unable to run smoothly due to financial difficulties.
He added that due to the just-suspended teachers’ strike, parents were hesitant to pay school fees.
“Schools in this region are currently facing a financial nightmare because nobody is paying school fees.
“Even in boarding schools where students are on campus full time, school fees are not being paid,” he said.
SRC failed to advise on teachers pay hike - unions
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission never gave its advice on the proposal to increase teachers’ salaries by 50-60 per cent, the Court of Appeal has been told. Lawyers for the Kenya National Union of Teachers and Kenya Post Primary Education Teachers argued the SRC only gave a recommendation that the Teachers Service Commission carry out a job evaluation, but remained silent on if the proposal for increased salary was viable.
Union lawyers Paul Muite, John Mbaluto, Hillary Sigei and Kioko Kilukumi, in their separate submissions, told the appellate court that the role of the Sarah Serem-led commission in the pay negotiations was not binding and thus could as well be disregarded.
Teachers vow never to ‘waste time again’
Kenya National Union of Teachers top officials came face to face with the wrath of a section of teachers who said they would not engage in future strikes. Immediately after Knut officials announced suspension of the strike, teachers protested to members of the National Executive Council accusing them of “wasting time.” The teachers said they had been asked by the union officials to attend the press briefing and regretted why they participated in the five weeks’ strike.
“Why did you call us here if all you wanted is to call off the strike? We are not happy. And there is no solidarity anymore,” shouted one of the teachers in the boardroom.