Celebration of strength and resilience on teachers’ day

Wednesday, October 5th, 2022 08:18 | By
Grade Five pupils and their teacher during a CBC class session. PHOTO/File
Grade Five pupils and their teacher during a CBC class session. PHOTO/File

As World Teacher’s Day is commemorated today, teachers have called for the need to recognise the critical role they play, amidst a challenging work environment. The last two years have been challenging for teachers, who have had to work round the clock to cover as much syllabus as possible, within constrained time.

The Covid-19 crisis saw the Government re-organise the school calendar in order to cover for lost time, when basic learning institutions closed for nine months in 2020. With the reorganisation, this and last year has had four terms as opposed to the usual three terms, with term breaks being as short as one week. The teachers have, however, put their best foot forward to not only cover the syllabus, but also adequately prepare the examination classes.

Today, Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will be rewarding tutors for the exemplary work they have been doing, especially for good performance in the last examination class. Others to be rewarded are teachers who have received national or continental awards in the last one-year as well as the eight teachers who were named by President William Ruto to the education taskforce last week.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Deputy Secretary General, Hesbon Otieno says that teachers deserve recognition and honour for the work they have done in the middle of a crisis. “Teachers have been working under difficult circumstances to ensure every learner succeeds.

They have worked in the middle of a crisis and constrained calendar and have delivered,” he says. He says that it has been a tough situation for classroom teachers as they deliver both the 8-4-4 system and Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).

Deserved pay rise

This, he said, is despite signing a nonmonetary 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) last year, having taken into consideration the harsh economic time witnessed in the country. Knut, however, re-opened negotiations with TSC to negotiate the salary component, a move that came after former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s announcement during Labour Day celebrations that the minimum wage be increased by 12 per cent.

“All along we have been working despite the non-monetary CBC. We would like the Government to now honour teachers for the hard work they have been doing and

give us the 60 per cent pay rise, that is not too much to ask,” he adds. Otieno says the talks with TSC have been ongoing, but slowed down by the transition process from Uhuru’s to the now Ruto’s regime. He says that teachers have high expectations from the Ruto’s administration to support them in enhancing their terms of service as they promised while on campaign trail.

On CBC, Otieno welcomed the working group constituted by Ruto, even as he said that teachers are ready to give their views once it starts undertaking its mandate. “We are happy that there are no politicians in the team, it has senior education stakeholders… it is a well balanced committee and we wish them well,” he said.

He says that there should be a summative evaluation of the CBC to understand the progress so far and also its structure, especially on the Junior Secondary School (JSS) component. According to a statement from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), the world has committed to transform education and to address the main obstacles that prevent teachers from leading this transformation.

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