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Are These good Signs For A teachers' Payrise Coming Soon?

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) have less than 25 days to come up with a solution to the pay rise stalemate that led teachers to go on strike last year. This was revealed by KNUT Assistant Secretary General (SG) Mr. Collins Oyuu during an exclusive interview with Thika Town Today on Saturday after he officiated KNUT Thika Branch elections at Gatumaini Primary School.

He said that the government had formed a committee involving 5 members of KNUT and TSC to look into the Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The committee, whose mandate run from between January 27th and February 27th 2016 will be expected to come up with the remedy for the perennial teachers’ strikes in the country.

The TSC had on June 30 had appealed against the ruling by Justice Nderi Nduma that had awarded teachers a 50-60% pay increase, spread between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2017 a matter that had resulted to industrial action.

At the same time, Mr. Oyuu called on the TSC to remit all outstanding Union dues backdating since September last year saying that deducting of union dues through check-off system was the right of trade unions all over the world. He added that TSC was breaching the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention of 1998 that stipulated the rules of engagement between the employers and their employees all over the world. He added that no employee was required to validate their membership before an employer deducted their dues for remittance to their union. For KNUT, the teachers were only required to sign the ‘blue form’ and therefore whatever TSC was doing was illegal.

On the teachers’ appraisals, Mr. Oyuu warned Head teachers against signing any performance contracts from the TSC saying that the matter had not yet been agreed upon with the teachers.

“Human resource practices all over the world demands that both the employer and the employee must first agree on any issue that affected the employee before the employer goes ahead to implement them. What TSC is subjecting the teachers on the performance contracts could be a way to deny you promotions and as KNUT we cannot allow them to victimise teachers,” he said.

“No head teacher should sign performance contracts until KNUT advises them to. Though we are not objecting to these appraisals, TSC must first sit down with KNUT to allow us verify their contents,” he added.

Otherwise, he made a swipe at a new wave of privatisation and commercialisation of education that was currently being introduced into our system which he said that could deny children from poor families’ education if not checked.

“We as KNUT are asking the Education Ministry to ensure that they guarantee compulsory basic education to every child. Bridge Schools should stop this exploitation of poor families in the guise of provision of education. All money from the World Bank meant to fund education in Kenya must be channeled through the Ministry of Education and not through individual entities. This is illegal and a way to commercialise education,” he said.

He claimed that the curriculum followed by Bridge Schools was not well engaged and could neither be classified as private schools. According to him, it was quite unethical for this group to train their teachers in just 4 months as opposed to our system’s set period of 2 years.

He wondered how they got funded directly by the World Bank yet they paid their teachers a paltry Ksh. 3,000 per month which to him was exploiting them.

Bridge International Academies has set up more than 200 schools in Kenya over the past five years. Using a school-in-a-box model, they teach primary for roughly $5 a month. Primary school in Kenya starts at age 6 and runs for eight years. It's officially free for all children.

On the surface, these schools look much like other schools in poor parts of the developing world. The simple buildings are made of sheet metal and rough timbers. There's no electricity. Rows of wooden desks face a blackboard in the sixth-grade classroom.

However, unlike in the traditional model where teachers are expected to be experts on everything, Bridge hires experts to script the lessons; the teacher's role is to deliver that content to the class.

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