The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has called for an increase of teachers’ salaries by at least 60 per cent.
KNUT National Chairman Patrick Karinga Munuhe said that teachers in the country have a huge workload and this is expected to increase as schools prepare for grade 8 enrolment next year as per the new Competency Based Curriculum.
Munuhe was speaking in Mombasa during the annual general meeting for the Knut Kilindini branch.
The meeting was also attended by officials from the Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association (KEPSHA) who gave their report stating that their teachers are likely to have a higher workload than what they used to have before.
“Proposals from the presidential working party on education say that we shall have a comprehensive school that will run from ECDE up to grade 9”.
“That is why we are asking our employer the Teacher Service Commission that we need to re-look at our 2021 – 2025 CBA. We are just asking for a 60 per cent pay rise for our teachers because of the work that has been added to their current workload,” said Munuhe.
KNUT has through their secretary general Nelson Oyuu in previous engagements been asking for a review of their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2021 – 2025.
The union had issued a seven days notice for TSC to convene a meeting with them over the matter.
Muhuhe confirmed that they wrote to TSC and their employer replied setting a date for discussions which could have happened this week if not for the planned three-day nationwide demonstrations called by the opposition.
He reiterated that teaching is a call, but this should not be misused to exploit them.
“I can confirm to you that we are in good terms with our employer, and we could have met in the course of this week, but because of the ongoing demos we will have to wait,” Munuhe said.
On the issue TSC announcing the recruitment of 20,000 new teachers as interns, Munuhe said that TSC should have first ensured that the interns who were recruited last year should have been absorbed on a permanent and pensionable basis before recruiting new interns.
The Knut chair argued that within the teacher’s labour practices, it dictates that six months down the line, TSC should not go a seventh month without employing them on a permanent and pensionable basis.
TSC had in early July announced the recruitment of 20,000 intern teachers in public primary and Junior secondary schools.
According to the advertisement whose deadline was on the 10th of this month, 18,000 teachers were needed in JSS and 2,000 in public primary schools to support the implementation of CBC.
The Teacher Internship Programme is a one-year programme meant to equip and sustain the competencies of persons entering the teaching service.
Teacher interns attached to primary schools will be eligible for a monthly stipend of Ksh 15,000, while those attached to JSS will be eligible for a monthly stipend of Ksh 20,000.
Last year, the Ministry of Education announced the recruitment of 30,000 teachers and interns to support the implementation of JSS beginning in January 2023.
Munuhe also called on the government to ensure the safety of teachers and learners as he condemned the closure of public schools in Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu Counties over the Azimio demonstrations on Wednesday.
He called for the government and opposition to look for a solution amicably without interfering with the learning of children in the country.
“We cannot be having our pupils not going to school, this makes our teachers uncomfortable too because the chaos and bonfires on the streets hinders them from getting to schools and also threatens their safety and security,” he said.
Jomvu MP Badi Twalib echoed the KNUT Chairman’s sentiments on the reviewing of the CBC.
“They signed when the economy was doing well, currently things are so hard. They should think about reviewing the CBA for it to suit the current economic situation and be of help to our teachers,” said Twalib.
The legislator advocated for the harmonization of Mombasa teachers’ house allowances to be in tandem with their Nairobi counterparts.
Twalib said the new regulations by TSC for Head Teachers and Principals to have degrees should not touch on experienced teachers who have served for many years.
“They should not introduce it blankly and say that a head teacher must be a degree holder. A head teacher who has served for 20 to 30 years has experience,” said Twalib, adding that volunteer teachers should be given priority by TSC when vacancies arise.