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KNUT opposes move to demote non-graduate primary school heads

KNUT Secretary General Collins Oyuu speaks to the press in Mombasa

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has opposed a proposal by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms that will see primary school heads without degrees demoted beginning January next year.

KNUT Secretary General (SG) Collins Oyuu termed the proposal as unfair and the worst labour practice the country will implement on the teachers.

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Mr Oyuu was speaking in Mombasa after gracing the KNUT coast council regional meeting held at Ronald Ngala Primary School in Mvita.

“We are prepared, and we have our teeth out to bite where necessary so that our teachers remain comfortable as they were. If anything, some of these heads you are making reference to are some of the best heads.

It is basically administration, and we all went to college to learn basic administration and we qualified highly,” said Oyuu.

Oyuu said that as much as they fully support the radical changes and reforms in the education sector as proposed by the working party, they had reservations with a number of proposals.

He reiterated KNUT’s commitment to support primary school heads that don’t have degrees saying that they will present proposals to the working party to allow the heads without degrees to go to university and retain their positions.

Oyuu alluded that 90 per cent of primary school heads were graduates, lashing out at those who might think otherwise.

He insisted that any head who is not a degree holder proceed to a higher learning institution to attain the qualification.

The working party had in their proposals suggested that head teachers heading primary schools hosting Junior Secondary School (JSS) at the time of the implementation of the new Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) to head the schools for an interim period lapsing in December 30, 2023.

There are more than 23,000 primary schools approved by the ministry of education to host JSS with some managed by non-graduate schools heads.

It proposed the creation of comprehensive schools that will incorporate the current pre-primary schools, primary school and JSS in the same compound under a single head teacher.

Current head teachers lacking the qualification are to be given lesser administrative roles.

The KNUT SG welcomed the proposal to have comprehensive schools saying the issues of primary, junior secondary and senior secondary school shall come to a stop such that children start school at ECD up to grade 12 in the same school.

With this in place, Oyuu said that we shall have one head of an institution without causing a lot of confusion.

“We have had a lot of gaps that ought to have been filled because the whole situation in the implementation of JSS was a bit jumbled up. Grade 7 students have transitioned to JSS, but where are the teachers?” Oyuu posed.

He noted that as much as KNUT supported the idea of domiciling JSS in primary schools they must escalate the idea of having comprehensive schools.

Oyuu also raised concerns over the issue of hiring of ECDE teachers in the country.

Knut in their proposals, he said, stated that basic education begins from ECD all the way to form 4.

He said that what has been happening is total conflict saying that while grade 1 to 12 is seen to be manned by ministry and TSC bringing teachers together on employment, ECD was most unfortunate that counties had to step in to employ teachers.

The working party has proposed that the remuneration of ECD teachers come from TSC.

“Counties are employing teachers with TSC numbers, it beats logic for one to be holding the number but are employed by the county. TSC must now employ these teachers because this will be in line with teachers in terms of quality assurance and even in work in our schools,” Oyuu said.

The SG also raised issues with the working party proposal to reduce TSC powers to the benefit of the education ministry.

He said that KNUT had proposed a clear path in matters of quality assurance by the TSC and the parent ministry.

“What we wanted was a clear definition of roles without antagonism and without hitting each other. We made it clear in our proposals that we cannot afford to sit in matters of conflict between TSC and the ministry,” he said.

He also congratulated TSC for rolling out the 2023 – 2027 strategic plan that will be implemented at a cost of Ksh 70 billion.

The plan he said was very clear in most areas apart from the teacher remuneration aspect which he said needed to be re looked at.

KNUT he said was prepared to push TSC to the table so that teacher remuneration is also considered within the strategic plan.

Earlier TSC had made a proposal for Ksh 2 billion for teacher promotion, which was welcomed by stakeholders although the national treasury reduced it to Ksh 1 billion.

“We still want TSC to sit with us and open the avenue for negotiations once more the SRC stopped us from negotiating anything monetary in 2021. But now that it lifted the caveat about negotiations, we are out and have written to TSC and have given them 14 days to bring us to table so that we start a review of the non-monetary CBA we signed in 2021,” Oyuu said.

Reporting by KNA

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