KNUT wants Ministry to increase teachers’ salaries and address Teachers Shortage before 2022 Elections.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), wants the Ministry of Education to hire more teachers and raise their pay to address a severe shortage in public primary schools.
H KNUT secretary-general Collins Oyuu claims that inflation is wreaking havoc on teachers, making life increasingly unbearable and that the profession has become a laughingstock.
He stated that Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has allocated an additional Sh14.9 billion to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), bringing its budget to Sh296.6 billion from Sh281 billion this year.
Oyuu noted that the funds should be used to pay salaries and recruit new employees. Teachers want a minimum basic salary of Sh27,195, rising to Sh35,897 for B5s.
“We are the best examples for the communities to emulate and join this respectful and noble professional but we have become a laughing stock while the rest of the professionals are living in the current world order. We are suffering due to stagnated salaries,” said the unionist.
Domicile grades 7, 8 and 9 in primary schools
KNUT also wants grades 7, 8, and 9 to be housed in primary schools rather than secondary schools.
KNUT secretary-general stated that primary school teachers can handle junior secondary.
Mr Oyuu was perplexed as to why the government was spending money to construct additional classrooms in secondary schools.
He proposed that junior secondary schools be housed in primary schools in order for day schools to succeed and control indiscipline.
“Who do you want to occupy the vacant classrooms in primary schools? Do you want those classrooms to be our houses?” he said at the 17th annual Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association (Kepsha) delegates conference on Wednesday in Mombasa.
“The classrooms should be utilised by bringing grades 7 and 8, and an additional classroom… Grade 9. Our primary school teachers can handle them since 80 per cent of teachers are graduates and some have master’s degrees.”
However, Knut’s boss advocated for stakeholder involvement in all educational matters.
Oyuu promised to fight for teachers’ rights in collaboration with all stakeholders adding that teachers must always be trusted.
“My role is to speak on behalf of the teachers in this republic. Teachers are the jacks of all trades and masters of all,” he said.
He urged the Ministry of Education to ensure that teachers receive adequate training.
Mr. Oyuu decried educational inequities caused by the unequal distribution of professionally trained teachers, particularly in disadvantaged areas.
He urged the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the Teachers’ Salaries Commission to negotiate salary increases with teachers.
“This should be before the 2022 polls. Let’s sit and negotiate, it is our right. Teachers should be empowered, adequately recruited, remunerated, supported and motivated. They should be remunerated well because they play many roles,” he said.
He added that the union cannot stand by and watch the government demotivate teachers, particularly those who have volunteered to work extra hours.
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During the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, Knut was patient and understanding.
He urged parents to take on their responsibilities rather than delegating them to teachers.
“Headteachers have suffered in their roles but you have always succeeded,” he said.