5 February 2012

Kenya: Teachers Protest At Proposed Contracts

Photo: Tom Maruko/The Nation
Teachers' strike (file photo): Working on contract means teachers would have set goals against which their performance would be measured.

Teachers have vowed to fight a proposal that school heads be put on three-year contracts, terming it punitive and unnecessary.

Kenya National Union of Teachers chairman Wilson Sossion told the Nation on Sunday that it would be "untenable" to adopt the proposal since it would imply interference with what the Teachers Service Commission should be doing.

"That's where the taskforce made a mistake and we are going to oppose it strongly. We want that recommendation to be expunged without negotiations," he said.

The Taskforce on the Realignment of the Education Sector to the New Constitution wants headteachers to be given three-year contracts as a way of sustaining better performance, which would then be used to judge whether they should continue with the job.

The team also recommended that county education boards be established specifically to determine who heads schools.

Prime minister Raila Odinga said the government will study all the proposals before accepting to change the current education system.

"All the pros and cons must be discussed before we think of overhauling the education system as recommended," said Mr Odinga.

He spoke during a meeting with 1,130 ODM delegates in Machakos town on Sunday. "We don't want to rush in changing our education system now only to review it after 10 years.

"We may be forced to critically look into the current system with a view to rectifying loopholes. We want an education system which offers hope to the Kenyan child," said Mr Odinga said.

On Sunday, Mr Sossion said: "A school system is not a production industry. If you tell teachers that they might not have their jobs after three years, what do you expect? They will decide to get out of the system altogether."

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