Teachers strike on as Knut and Kuppet officials tell teachers to stay away from schools


Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers(KUPPET) leaders led by from left Akello Misori (Secretary General) Moses Nthurima (Deputy Secretary General) and Omboko Milemba (Chairman) addresses the media at their head office in Nairobi on Sunday where they said that the planned strike was on.

NAIROBI: A cloud of uncertainty hangs around the country as the school calendar kicks off Monday following contradictory statements issued by the Government, teachers’ unions and a parents’ association over whether children should report to class.

To further compound the complex situation,  school heads remained silent Sunday over whether schools would open or not, in the face of the strike which has been called by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education of Teachers (Kuppet).

 Public secondary and primary school association heads Sunday failed to issue statements advising their members to report to schools, even as the Teachers Service Commission ( TSC) asked all teachers to report to work.

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) and the Kenya Primary School Heads Association (Kepsha) officials declined to state whether schools will open today (Monday).

“That is a union affair and we shall deal with it professionally. The unions are best placed to handle that,” said Kessha National Chairman John Awiti.

Asked whether school heads will report to school under instructions from the Teachers Service Commission ( TSC), Awiti said: “We shall make that decision on that day,” he said.

Knut and Kuppet officials Sunday asked all their members to stay away from school.

Kuppet Secretary General Akello Misori said no teacher shall be victimised and asked all members to assemble outside their offices.

“The strike is on. Members of Kuppet should assemble at branch offices to get circulars of the strike and the events of the week,” said Misori.

“Teachers will not be responsible for school property during the period of the strike. TSC must take responsibility for the consequences of the strike because it has failed to table a meaningful offer to teachers,” added Misori.

The union issued a seven-day strike notice on December 31, 2014, after a meeting of the National Governing Council.

In a new offer tabled on Saturday, the Government introduced leave allowance for all teachers effective July 1, 2015. The allowance shall be paid once a year based on teachers’ job groups.

Teachers have also been promised a harmonised house allowance to be implemented effective July 1, 2015.

The Government also tabled a hardship allowance noting that the rates will no longer be pegged as a percentage of teachers’ basic salary.

 “The rates will now be at capped absolute figures,” reads the document.

All teachers in special schools and units shall earn a special school allowance at a flat rate of Sh10,000. The current rate is varied from Sh1,669 to Sh10,908.

Readers allowance for all visually impaired teachers in the teaching service shall also be pegged at a flat rate of Sh15,000. The rates are currently fixed at Sh 7,785.

Parents who spoke to The Standard said they are not certain of likely events Monday.

“The Government tells us to take children to school but unions say no learning shall take place. Whom shall we believe,” said Mike Baraza, a parent in Nairobi.

He said even as parents flocked bookshops and shopping malls, it is not clear whether the children shall be sent to school.

A parent from Machakos County said his children shall remain at home until the Government resolves its issues with the unions.