2 January 2019

Kenya: CS Amina Backs TSC On Teachers' Strike, Says Schools to Reopen

Photo: Kanyiri Wahito/Nation Media Group
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed during a press conference on the reopening of schools and the new curriculum, January 2, 2019.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has announced that schools will reopen tomorrow, despite the threat by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) for their strike to begin on the same day.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Ms Mohamed backed the Teachers Service Commission, which is once again caught up in a dispute with Knut over promotions, transfers, performance contracting and professional development modules.

THREAT

After the teachers' employer skipped a conciliation meeting on Tuesday, Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion insisted that their strike would take place.

"The employer is working in bad faith and cannot start playing tricks when we come for conciliation," he said, adding the absence of TSC officials indicated that it is not committed to roundtable discussions.

The minister said, however, that, "The government is ready to ensure schools open tomorrow. Schools will open tomorrow despite any threats which have been issued."

She added, " The government is fully behind TSC CEO Nancy Macharia on the issues of the strike. The announcement that was made in December still stands. Schools will open tomorrow."

On December 24, the ministry rescheduled the reopening of schools from January 2 to January 3.

Basic Education Director Elyas Abdi said the extension would allow teachers and learners time to travel to their work stations.

TSC STANCE

The TSC asked teachers to report to their stations for the sake of quality learning and parents to take their children back, with the promise that there will be enough teachers.

It added in a statement, however, that, "TSC will assign teachers in its database to duty in case of non-attendance."

The commission noted that this will ensure continuity in learning as solutions to teachers' contentious issues.

CURRICULUM

Concerning the new curriculum, whose rollout date had been pushed for reasons including inadequate training, CS Mohamed said the ministry was ready for a rollout on Thursday.

"Guideline have been developed for the implementation of the new curriculum," she said, adding that the ministry and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) will ensure books are availed on time.

There shall be five classes in PP1 and only books approved by the KICD will be used.

Regarding admissions to secondary school, Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang warned head teachers against issuing letters directly to parents.

He said that only letters downloaded from the ministry's admission website are valid.

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