- KUPPET, in celebrating 25 years of service, called on the government to address the glaring challenges in the education sector.
- You cannot implement a new curriculum with freshers without blending with experienced teachers.
- According to Mudavadi, the government authorized the TSC to employ 58,000 teachers in a single year, in both contract and permanent terms.
Calls to improve terms of service for Junior Secondary School teachers dominated this year’s Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) Annual Delegates Conference (ADC) held at Kasarani Grounds.
KUPPET, in celebrating 25 years of service, called on the government to address the glaring challenges in the education sector.
Speaking during the union’s Annual Delegates Conference (ADC), Akelo Misori, KUPPET Secretary General, said the future of Junior Secondary School was at stake, as confusion and indecision took center stage.
He regretted that the personnel contracted to Junior School were freshers who had not mustered enough skills and needed career guidance from colleagues to implement the new curriculum.
Misori expressed KUPPET’s frustration with how the government handled the new curriculum, indicating potential confusion and professional gaps in the sector.
He contended that the JSS teachers have not been treated well, leaving their professional future in a vacuum.
“The process of learning has three components: the instructor, the curriculum, and the learner. In the JSS case, the instructor is not well-placed to deliver the curriculum.
You cannot implement a new curriculum with freshers without blending with experienced teachers.
The conduct and management of JSS was rushed and ridiculous,” said Misori.
He said Primary Schools lacked the requisite resources to deliver secondary school curriculum, maintaining the union’s position that Junior Secondary Schools should be domiciled in existing secondary schools.
Addressing the crisis
In a bid to address effective teaching in Junior Secondary Schools, KUPPET urges the government to consider placing Grade 8 and Grade 9 learners in existing secondary schools.
“In placing Grade 8 and Grade 9 in existing Secondary Schools, the government would be addressing infrastructure challenges, capacity of teaching staff, and service experience. Teaching 14 learning lessons single-handedly is not easy.
The established subject teachers in Secondary Schools promise effective Competency Based Curriculum implementation,” Misori added.
Omboko Milemba, KUPPET National Chairman, asked the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to expedite the promotion of the recently interviewed teachers, terming the delay a stumbling block for the push of another 17,000 teachers.
“The government committed to allocate another KSh 1 billion from the supplementary budget for the promotion of more teachers. To realize this new allocation, the TSC must put into use the previous allocation, to pave way for another round of 17,000 teacher promotions,” said Milemba.
Hon. Milemba thanked the National Assembly for the removal of the delocalization policy, adding that the policy was discriminatory, in bad faith, and caused both emotional and social trauma.
The union’s chairman also lauded the government for employing 51,000 teachers in a single year, but challenged the TSC to improve the terms of service of teachers.
“The teachers of Kenya have been denied Group Life Cover. This is a shameful case of discrimination since other civil servants enjoy the cover through the superannuation scheme.
Doctors and the police, among other civil servants enjoy the cover. Why are teachers exempted?” He asked.
Commitment and support
Musalia Mudavadi, Prime Cabinet Secretary (PCS) and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, in his address at the ADC, said the government has developed mutual, respectful, and beneficial relations with trade unions, creating space for unions to play their role as the authentic voice of all the working population.
“The government has demonstrated commitment to scale up public funding for education sector, channeling more resources, through capitation to schools, bursaries and grants.
As government, we have increased funding to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and expanded capacity of transition to Primary and Secondary Schools.
The needy students in institutions of higher learning can now access both grants and bursaries to support their education, and research,” Mudavadi said.
He added that the government authorized the TSC to employ 58,000 teachers in a single year, in both contract and permanent terms.
He said the government intends to address the biting teacher shortage by the next financial year.
He noted the government’s commitment to promoting access to education, adding that in August 2023, the government awarded a charter to the Open University of Kenya (OUK) to support distance learning in efforts to promote the acquisition of knowledge and skills.
On Junior Secondary School education, the PCS reiterated that the government has acknowledged the demand of KUPPET, that the Junior Secondary be domiciled in existing secondary schools.
“The government has acknowledged KUPPET’s request for domiciling Junior Schools in existing secondary schools, and the confirmation of interns to permanent and pensionable terms.
As government, we shall confirm the intern teachers, according to the law.
We shall publish and present to parliament a Sessional Paper on proposals by Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER) to align them with the national goals of education,” said Mudavadi.
He reminded Kenyans to brace for a difficult 2 to 3 years before seeing reprieve, stating that the country had set a dangerous borrowing spree.
He explained that governments exist in perpetuity, acknowledging the government’s commitment in meeting all the financial obligations and commitments entered into with other institutions and governments.
“When you are in a difficult situation, you must make difficult situations. There are only two sources through which the government can generate income; debt and tax.
If we have 355 parastatals, and they are in debt, the government has to stop paying the debt and engage in salvage strategies,” added Mudavadi, with reference to the latest push by the government to privatize state corporations.
In November 2023, JSS teachers employed by the TSC as interns threatened to abandon duty in 2024 unless the government reviewed their terms of engagement from contract to permanent and pensionable terms.
The teachers claimed that despite signing a one-year contract with TSC, the employer has remained adamant on confirming them, even in the wake of a myriad of work-related challenges and high cost of living.
“The JSS teachers, in some schools, are compelled to teach primary school classes and subjects that they have not been trained to teach,” Sam Opondo, KUPPET’s Executive Secretary, said.
With schools expected to open for a new term in less than a month, it is unclear if the government will listen to the cry of JSS teachers who have pressured TSC to review their terms of reference, in the wake of the high cost of living.
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Kenyans believe the government should address inadequate school infrastructure, inadequate training of teachers on CBC, inadequate teaching and learning materials, large class sizes, and insufficient number of Junior Secondary teachers.