Friday, September 2, 2011

School opening may be affected by teachers strike

Public schools are scheduled to re-open next week. However a 7 days strike notice by teachers unions KNUT and KUPPET may paralyze re-opening of schools for the third term of this year. This is a very crucial term for student who will sit for exams in October/November.

Teachers and the unions are annoyed by Treasury’s move to allocate money meant for employing more teachers, to Parliament to clear tax arrears for members of parliament who most of them refused to pay taxes and already have huge salaries compare to teacher’s who pay taxes on their small earnings. Some teachers have even been hired on contract without benefits.

“He complained whereas Knut had met top Treasury officials and that the Parliamentary Budget Committee had approved the allocation, and the matter was agreed on by the MPs, the same committee had turned round and re-allocated the funds.
“We are calling on parents to support us in fighting this injustice that would further mess up the standards of education,” Okuta pleaded.” By Vitalis Kimutai. The Standard read more

I support Mr. Okuta’s (Knut Secretary General) plea to parent because since introduction of free primary schools education, the number of students in public schools has more than doubled, a class that used to have around 30 students now has over 100 students with one teacher. Off course it is a challenging task for teachers to follow keenly each student’s performance under such circumstances. It is very difficult for the teacher to mark all the 100 plus books or exam papers in one day to prepare for another lesson. Consequently the student’s performance has gone down tremendously in public primary schools, public primary schools like Olympic primary schools in Kibera that were amongst top ten in the past, now features no more. As a result most private primary schools are amongst the top. Even though the Ministry of Education stopped ranking schools one can still tell that private schools with fewer children are amongst the top when they name the top students and their schools.

As a result of the crowding in the public schools and few teachers, many private schools have mushroomed and many parents who are able to pay for school fees send their children to private schools, where there is better attention from the teachers because of few students in class. No parent would want their children to fail, but many parents do not have a choice but to take their children to public schools. Therefore this is a serious issue the Government should look into and address urgently.

A quote by Chairman of Knut

“Sossion said: “This is a war between the rich and the poor. Some leaders were brought up in royal families. They do not understand the tribulations the common man undergoes everyday.” He asked the Minister for Labour to consider all avenues to address the issue and ensure that TSC employs teachers on fair and equitable terms. “The withdrawal of the financial allocation marks the lowest time in our history. It comes at a time standards of education are at its lowest,” said Sossion. also from the Standard

I support our teachers 100% because they are important in the society to shape the future of every school going child.

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