Kenya: Schools are set to start this term with imminent disruption of studies and exams should the Government fail to conclude negotiations with teachers over the new Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA).
Already, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) have made threats to go on strike if the demands they have tabled to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) are not agreed upon within 21 days.
TSC is yet to invite both Knut and Kuppet to conclude the negotiations to avert a looming strike that could start one week to the beginning of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations this year.
Kuppet Secretary General Akello Misori said as schools open today, the requisite capitation funds for third term ought to have been sent by last week.
“If the schools do not get the capitation funds this week, then there will be a crisis. Ideally, these funds should be sent to schools at least a week before schools open to enable head teachers budget for the funds,” said Misori.
Misori decried that every term there is a delay in the release of capitation funds and should the same happen this term, students and pupils preparing for the exams will greatly be disadvantaged.
“The ministry had committed they will release the third tranche which is 20 per cent capitation funds within the first week of opening. We hope this will happen because if it does not, then students preparing for the examinations will suffer,” said Misori.
Kuppet and Knut is also weary of the lack of a substantive Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) chief executive, three months after the candidates for the position were interviewed and names submitted to Kaimenyi for appointment.
“We are weary of the national examinations because without a chief executive, there will be cartel to bungle this years’ exams. We have raised this issue before and Kaimenyi is still buying time,” added Misori.
Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion said that lack of a substantive chief executive at Knec will hurt examinations.
Sossion said they are already in possession of a letter which alleges the extent to which some officials within the examinations body have planned to leak the exams.
“Third term is always an exam term and we don’t want issues of exams to be casualised the way it is being done. When we start hearing of exam leakages, we get extremely worried,” said Sossion.
Kuppet also delved into the task force committee chaired by former Higher Education Assistant Minister Kilemi Mwiria on school fees charged by secondary schools.
The report recommended that schools employ staff on contract and outsource services such as security, repairs, maintenance and cleaning. The task force observed that when school fees charged is high, the rich have generally better access to education than the poor, therefore school attendance for children from poor homes is lower.
However, the report will be implemented from January next year after TSC develops guidelines to conform with the recommendations.
Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) also lacks a substantive chief executive at a time when the curriculum is at a crucial stage of being developed.
The acting CEO Mercy Karogo applied for the position but her name did not feature in the final list of nominees sent to Kaimenyi.
Sources indicate that Dr Julius Jwan, Dinah Chang’wonyi Mwinzi, and Kenya Institute of Special Education Director Elkana Lagat made the final list that was presented to Kaimenyi.
By Rawlings Otieno, The Standard