• Branch executive director says teachers deployed in the region suffer the most, hence their hardship allowance should be increased
• Adds that teacher shortage is another mess that must be tackled, but the government ‘seems reluctant to address it adequately’
The Teachers Service Commission has been accused of failing its employee by ignoring the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2017.
Mandera teachers say the region is worst-hit because of its unique problems. Kenya National Union of Teachers branch executive secretary Kullow Sheikh on Thursday said teachers deployed in the region suffer the most, hence their hardship allowance should be increased.
They grapple with harsh weather, poor roads, and lack of banking services, he said.
Sheikh said full implementation of the CBA would fix some of the problems. He cited better health insurance cover, risk allowance, promotion and career progression.
He said teacher shortage is another mess that must be tackled, but the government “seems reluctant to address it adequately”.
“The government should give the matter the seriousness it deserves… It’s a song we’ve been singing for decades, but nothing seems to be coming out of it,” the Knut official said.
“When you go to some of these schools, you get to see how dire the situation is. Classes are overcrowded and you wonder how the competency-based curriculum will be implemented.”
Sheikh also took issue with MPs for increasing their perks at the expense of suffering Kenyans, who toil to meet their needs and pay tax to the government.
“Our teachers cannot be well-remunerated because MPs take the chunk of the budgetary allocation,” Sheikh said.
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TSC director Ibrahim Mumin sought to assure the teachers that they are committed to improving the working conditions of teachers in the region. He, however, warned that the Ministry of Education alone cannot fulfil all the demands.
The commission transferred non-local teachers working along the border with Somalia to safer areas following frequent al Shabaab attacks. The mass exit left schools reeling from significantly reduced staff size.
Mumin said they had to secure lives that were at stake. On career growth, he said the commission has a progression programme through which teachers ascend to higher job groups to curb stagnation.
Mandera education executive Izzudin Abdullahi said the county government is committed to working with the national government to improve learning outcomes. He appealed to the Commission on Revenue Allocation to increase the budgetary allocation for Mandera to cater to the education crisis in the region.
He said the county had to hire 68 primary and secondary school teachers because of extreme understaffing.