19 September 2012

Kenya: No End in Sight to Teachers' Strike

Photo: Capital FM
kenya students in class, the three week strike by teachers demanding salary increase affected the education system. (File Photo)

A sub-committee appointed by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga has failed to resolve the ongoing teachers' strike that is now in its third week.

The committee led by Public Services Minister Dalmas Otieno had its proposals rejected by the teachers who have maintained that they will not return to work until their demands are met.

The committee had proposed to settle the teachers salary in three phases. The first phase was to be paid this year, the second in January 2013, and the third in July 2013.

Additionally the committee had proposed to withdraw legal notice number 16 of 2003 which was secretly installed to amend legal notice 534 of 1997, in the latter notice, the teachers had agreed with the Ministry of Education to be paid commuter, housing, medical, hardship and special education allowance.

The 2003 legal notice however amended the earlier one and only committed to paying hardship and special education allowances. The committee's offer to amend the 2003 legal notice back to the 1997 version was also rejected by the teachers. Finance Minister Njeru Githae had proposed the settling of the stalemate by including the teachers' salaries and allowances in the 2013-2014 financial budget.

The teachers opposed this proposal too and have vowed to stay put until their demands are met. The closed door sessions between teachers unions- Knut and Kuppet and Parliamentary committee on Education are yet to provide any solution to the standoff, meaning children in public schools may have to wait longer before they resume school.

The Kenya National Examination Council has warned that the ongoing teachers' may result in the strike national exams scheduled for October 4 to be postponed.

Parents and students in Nairobi will take to the streets tomorrow to protest the ongoing teachers strike. Parents Association Chairman Musau Ndunda says they will assemble at Uhuru Park at 9am and march to parliament. Ndunda also says Kisumu and Mombasa will also demonstrate on Friday and Monday Respectively.

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