THE education sector should be allocated Sh420 billion annually, Knut chairman Wilson Sossion said yesterday. He said a minimum of 30 per cent of the Sh1.3 trillion budget should go to education because of its critical role in developing the country's manpower.
Sossion was speaking yesterrday at Knut's 55th annual conference at the Kisumu Pentecostal Church hall. "This allocation can fully finance employment of enough teachers, paying competitive salaries to attract and retain the best teachers and financing learning programmes from early childhood development to the university," he said.
Sossion blamed underfunding for the teachers and lecturers' strikes that paralysed learning in the country. He said teachers have established a "Weavers Peace Programme" for them work for peace in general election.
"This is aimed at ensuring peaceful co-existance after the election to have learners return to school on March 5, a day after the polls," he said.
Knut secretary general Okuta Osiany asked the Teachers Service Commission to promote the 270,000 teachers with 'A' level qualifications. He threatened to mobilise teachers to press for the promotion if the TSC fails to act.
However, TSC deputy director in charge of human resource and payroll Everlyne Mitei said all the A level teachers left out during the last promotion will be promoted as from January 1 "on merit".
Education assistant minister Calistus Mwatela said the ministry will work with the TSC and teachers unions to ensure the retirement package for teachers is not less than Sh5 million. He said teachers are retiring a poor because of the poor scheme of service.
Mwatela, who was the chief guest, announced that the ministry will engage the TSC and teachers' union officials to come up with a good package for retiring teachers.
"With the current improved salaries, we can craft mechanisms to ensure the increase of retirement benefits for the teachers," he said. He pointed out that a minimum Sh 5 or Sh 6 million was tenable for the retiring teachers across the country.
The assistant minister lamented that currently teachers were being paid merely between Sh 200,000 and 300,000 which was not enough with the tough economic times.