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Why Knut bosses want all learners back in classroom

By Irene Githinji
Tuesday, October 6th, 2020
Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion.
In summary

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) yesterday said it is time to call all learners back to school, without further delay.

Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion called on the Ministry of Education to urgently release the school calendar, saying that Covid-19 will not go away and the country has now learnt how to manage it.

“We need children back in school as early as possible; they are safer in schools. We must reopen schools like yesterday.

Teachers have been in schools for a week, and now what is required is a release of the school calendar on new term dates,” said Sossion, during the World Teachers Day celebrations at Knut Headquarters in Nairobi.

Sossion said the world is at a crossroad and there is need to work with teachers to protect the right to education and guide it into the unfolding landscape brought by the pandemic.

“Upon reopening of schools, teachers will act as counselors, spiritual healers, innovators, mediators and catalysts and must be accorded psycho-social support for their psychological and emotional wellbeing, after experiencing extreme trauma at the height of the pandemic,” Sossion said.

He made the remarks as he told the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that it has no choice but to treat tutors with dignity and honour that comes with the profession.

“For teachers to excel in service delivery and have confidence in the commission, TSC has no option but to restore the lost glory of the profession and reinstate shattered hopes and aspirations of tutors,” Sossion demanded.

He termed it as unfortunate that teachers have been denied upgrading after acquiring higher qualifications or meeting perquisite requirements on grounds that they are Knut members. He said such teachers deserve unconditional promotion.

Sossion said introduction of two parallel payrolls in the public teaching service is punitive and amounts to discrimination; a move aimed at forcefully removing teachers from Knut membership.

He also demanded for reinstatement of Knut members saying TSC reduced it from 187,471 in June last year to 45,217 last month.

The implication of this, said Sossion, has been a drastic reduction of their monthly income from at least Sh80 million to the current Sh32 million, a situation that has caused immense financial strain to the union.

“Today, Knut is financially handicapped as it has been deprived of resources, the union cannot meet most of its financial obligations and has suspended its programmes and revised salaries of staff,” said Sossion.

He said in as much as TSC is pushing them to lay off workers, the union will keep fighting for their rights and ensure no one loses a job.

Separately, TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia wished all teachers well as she recognised exemplary work of teachers in the midst of coronavirus pandemic.

“Coming against the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s World Teachers Day is very significant. Our teachers have been at the frontline in sharing the Ministry of Health safety messages with learners and their communities,” said Macharia in a statement.

She said the commission is proud of all Kenyan teachers for staying safe and ensuring their loved ones are also safe and that their efforts have contributed to flattening of the curve.

Education Chief Administrative Secretary Zack Kinuthia lauded teachers for their critical contributions, saying they have empowered children with knowledge that is the basis of success in life.

He said the government has been enhancing recruitment of teachers to accommodate the bulging learner enrolment attributed to free primary and day secondary school as well as the 100 percent transition policy.

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