7 September 2012

Kenya: Parents' Body Wants Exams Pushed Over Strike

Learning in public schools will remain paralyzed for yet another week after teachers' unions vowed to continue with their strike despite a warning ... ( Resource: Kenya: Teachers Defy Govt Order Over Strike )

The Kenya National Association of Parents said on Friday that it would move to court to seek postponement of national examinations if the government does not resolve the current stalemate with teachers in the next two weeks.

Secretary General Musau Ndunda said if the teachers strike persisted, the association would move to court to seek an order to stop the Kenya National Examination Council and the government from offering the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations because students would not be well prepared.

"Why should we allow our children in this country to sit for national examinations when they are not prepared?" Ndunda posed.

He said the association would use a 2002 court ruling where they went to court after a teachers strike persisted for 28 days. The judge, he noted, ruled that in future if a teachers' strike happened in an examination period, the courts would exercise jurisdiction to ensure that they stopped the examinations.

"What we fear as an organisation is that if examinations will continue then of course you must realise that children are going to fail the same way they failed in 2002 and this is very serious. So we are asking the government through the Ministry of Education to speed up the issue of resolutions relating to teachers strike failure to which as an organisation we must file a case," Ndunda said.

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) Deputy Secretary General Moses Nthurima vowed that teachers would not invigilate or mark the national examinations if their issues were not addressed.

"Yesterday (Thursday) the government was willing to harmonise salaries but there are allowances also- the house allowance to be harmonised with Nairobi, the commuter allowance to be harmonised with civil servants, leave allowance... all these things have not been addressed and that is what we are waiting for," Nthurima stated.

"We have nothing to do with the examinations. They are run by the examinations council. We are telling them to look for people to manage their exams, teachers are not there," he said.

They were speaking to journalists during a forum for exam preparation where the Kenya National Examinations Council Secretary Paul Wasanga said the exams were scheduled to begin on October 4.

"In the event that there is a major challenge, obviously the government and the Kenya National Examination Council have other options which we can try to use. We had a challenge like that one in 1997 and before the examinations the teachers were back and they managed to manage the examinations," Wasanga said.

The teacher's strike began on Monday with the Kenya National Union of Teachers demanding salary increments and other allowances amounting to more than Sh43 billion, in a deal signed 15 years ago that was partly implemented.

According to the 1997 deal, teachers should by now have received various allowances including house allowances (50 percent of basic pay), medical allowance of 30 percent, and commuter allowance of 10 percent and 30 percent allowance for areas gazetted as hardship zones.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers both failed to honour appointments for meetings scheduled for Thursday afternoon with the labour minister John Munyes.

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