Non-teaching staff in public schools from six counties in Nyanza region have appealed to the government to pay their salaries for the months of July and August.
The staff from Migori, Homa Bay, Kisii, Kisumu, Nyamira and Siaya under the Nyanza Region Support Staff Welfare, converged in Kisii town Thursday to air their grievances.
The workers said they have not been paid for the two months despite some of them being on duty since the schools closed following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They said they have been subjected to untold suffering, including being unable to receive medical services due to non-remittance of National Hospital Insurance Fund dues.
They also said that it has been difficult for them to provide basic needs like food and clothing to their families, besides being unable to pay house rent, a situation which has put most of them in a state of general depression.
"As per the Basic Education Act, 2013, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education to ensure availability of funds and payment of all salaries for the support staff as envisaged in the Personal Emoluments vote," said Mr Evance Achar, the group's coordinator.
Mr Achar said the Education ministry has not remitted funds for payment of salaries of the employees for July and August 2020.
"We are, therefore, humbly requesting the ministry to release the remaining capitation for personal emoluments to be used for paying the salary arrears of these employees, which will go a long way in solving their current problems," said Ms Dorine Sunda, the group's secretary.
Ms Sunda said the funds recently released by the Ministry of Education were for the payment of board of management teachers only, leaving out non-teaching staff who have been on duty all through this period.
Teachers hired by school boards are receiving stipends from the Sh1.72 billion Covid-19 relief kitty.
Money for BoM teachers
Education Chief Administrative Secretary Zack Kinuthia recently said that only those who were working by March 15 when the government ordered the closure of schools will be paid.
Mr Kinuthia said the money has already been set aside by the National Treasury as per the advice of the Ministry of Education and that it would be sent to banks this morning (Thursday).
Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang told the Nation that the funds have been cleared for release after the ministry verified the lists of 43,000 beneficiaries submitted by headteachers.
The teachers have gone without pay since March when schools were closed due to Covid-19.
Mr Kinuthia said delays in paying the teachers were caused by reports of plans by some headteachers to steal the funds.
The CAS, who spoke while on a tour of Murang'a County, said the dubious scheme had seen the number of beneficiaries inflated to 126,000.
He said that among the tricks some headteachers employed were using names of serving and retired teachers as well as dead ones, friends outside the teaching profession, and board members listed as instructors.
He said the budget to pay the teachers is part of the Sh15.4 billion the government has set aside for public schools to enable them prepare for reopening.