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HomeKNUTKnut and Kuppet: A Union Battle over Junior Secondary School Domiciliation

Knut and Kuppet: A Union Battle over Junior Secondary School Domiciliation

Knut and Kuppet: A Union Battle over Junior Secondary School Domiciliation

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) are in disagreement on where to domicile junior secondary school (JSS).

Knut and Kuppet represent mostly primary school and secondary school teachers, respectively, but teachers are free to choose which union to join irrespective of the institutions they work for.

Knut Secretary General Collins Oyuu said JSS was facing numerous challenges that need to be addressed urgently. According to him, signing up the new members was not a problem at the moment.

“Our hardest times were between 2018 to 2021 when we lost members from over 180,000 to about 11,000,” he said, revisiting the question of member numbers.

“By early 2021, our offices were closed and there were no salaries for headquarters staff and branch secretaries.”

During that period, the union accrued numerous debts, which included taxes owed to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and benefits from members who had retired from service.


Kuppet National chairman Milemba Omboko said the serious question of domiciling JSS in secondary schools goes beyond politicisation of the matter and also dismissed the notion that the union was competing for members.

“The JSS is getting wasted, it is not about fighting for members. We have qualified teachers in primary but may not be conversant with some subjects, especially sciences, which are required in forming the learners’ pathways,” he said, expounding on the thinking behind the union’s quest to have JSS domiciled in secondary schools.

Kuppet, which has about 117,00 members, has stated that it is undertaking research on the status of JSS. However, its position is a sharp contrast to that taken by Knut, the Ministry of Education and the government.

Recommendations of the PWPER

Acting on the recommendations of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reform, the Ministry directed that JSS be domiciled in primary schools, for various reasons, including consideration on the age of the learners, availability of resources, and cultural factors.

With the coming of JSS, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) hired 30,000 teachers, one for each JSS in public institutions.

This could have, behind the scenes, sparked the differences between the two unions given that teachers pay a monthly subscription fee to their unions.

The amount is deducted from their salaries by their employer, the TSC, which then forwards it to the unions. Every member pays about two per cent of their basic salary as a monthly contribution to their union.

According to Knut’s constitution, the total amount deducted monthly should not exceed Sh1,200.

Joint Statement

According to Oyuu, membership should not be a reason for pushing and pulling at this time when a lot of time has been wasted, and proper learning is yet to take off in some JSS classes.

“It is ridiculous and hypocritical that some people who participated in giving views to PWPER are now calling for its disbandment for reasons that their views and interests are not factored.

It should be known that the interests of our nation in the education of our children should take first priority…we need to move forward,” said Oyuu.

He restated that the issue of membership was not a concern for Knut. In a joint statement, the Knut boss and the Kenya Primary School Heads Association chairman, Johnston Nzioka, issued a joint statement saying those calling for disbandment of the working party should stop causing confusion.

“Some people are calling for disbursement of PWPER for reasons not benefitting. We know there are some stakeholders in the sector, specifically trade unions, whose struggle is only to secure membership and

Knut and Kuppet: A Union Battle over Junior Secondary School Domiciliation


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