TO BE ARMED WITH GUNS OR NOT?

Teacher unions split on posting non-locals to Northeastern

Kuppet says withdrawing non-locals from the region is discriminatory and against the Constitution

In Summary

• Kenya National Union of Teachers that wants non-local, Christian teachers be exempted from teaching in the North.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Teacher chairman Omboko Milemba and secretary general Akello Misori during a press conference n Tuesday, January 14, 2020
ARM THEM: Kenya Union of Post Primary Teacher chairman Omboko Milemba and secretary general Akello Misori during a press conference n Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Image: WILFRED NYANGARESI

 

Teachers' unions were on Wednesday split on how to handle the insecurity in Northeastern with Knut calling for the withdrawal of non-local teachers.

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers, however, say tutors should not be withdrawn but be armed with guns and equipped with skills to defend themselves.

Al Shabaab militants on Monday killed three non-local teachers in an attack in Kamuthe in Garissa county. Local teachers were spared during the attack.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers says non-local, Christian teachers should be exempted from working in Northeatern. The union says the teachers should be replaced by colleagues who are members of the local Somali community.

But Kuppet says such a move will be discriminatory and against the Constitution.

Kuppet secretary-general Akello Misori on Wednesday condemned the killing of teachers and asked that they be armed.

"Let teachers be trained on how to handle guns so that they can defend themselves when they are in danger," Misori said.

Data from the Teachers Service Commission shows that at least 90 per cent of teachers posted to Northern seek transfer within the first five years.

Kuppet wants the transfer period reduced to three years and teachers given 24-hour security.

"TSC should give teachers from those areas leave, not force them to teach. Locals should cooperate and condemn these acts of terrorism," Misori said.

 TSC says teachers have an obligation to offer their services in any part of the country and should commit to it.

The commission's delocalisation policy that requires teachers to work outside their counties has also complicated matters.

Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion on Tuesday put the blame on the Education Ministry and TSC, saying laxity in moving non-local teachers from Northeastern had jeopardised their security.

Sossion said a meeting between PS Belio Kipsang and TSC boss Nancy Macharia in 2015 agreed on a crash programme where teachers would be trained to work in Northeastern.

TSC later opposed programme saying it could not lower college entry marks to cater for trainees from the North.

The pioneer cohort comprised 3,000 trainees picked from the five counties of Marsabit, Wajir, Mandera, Garissa and Turkana.

The collapse of the programme further saw the trainees transferred from teaching colleges to other preferred courses in technical colleges.

“It is absolute madness to send people who have spent all their lives in an urban setting to the North and enforce that … We have to be realistic and separate what works from what is failing,” Sossion said.

He said the programme should be revived.

“The policy that TSC adopted by employing teachers from the rest of the country and deploying them to Northeastern was not the right thing at all.” 

Sossion threatened to mobilise teachers to exit the region if the security situation is not addressed.

 

edited by p.o