Monthly Archives: September 2012

Teachers Strike in Kenya

Kenya has experienced waves of strikes in the past three weeks which has mainly affected the health and the education sector.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) on Monday ended the three week strike paving way for reopening of schools.

KNUT Secretary General David Okutta called off the strike and asked teachers to resume classes on Tuesday at 8am.

“We are grateful that the government considered our demands,” he said.

KNUT National Chairman, Wilson Sossion said the proposal by the government to pay Sh13.5 billion was acceptable and therefore teachers should resume work.

On Sunday, the government signed a deal with KNUT, in which Ksh13.5 billion would be paid in lump sum in October as opposed to phases and backdated to July 1, 2012.

KNUT Deputy Secretary General Xavier Nyamu said that the return to work formula stipulates that no teachers would be victimised for participating in the strike.

Mr Nyamu also said the salary harmonisation to that of civil servants will be implemented as agreed.

Education minister Mutula Kilonzo who attended the press conference said the government will ensue that the return-to-work formula agreed upon by the two parties will be adhered to.

Mr Kilonzo also said that teachers will not be victimised for participating in the strike.

After calling off the strike, KNUT said it expects to be involved in discussions on the fate of national examination.

The lowest paid teachers receive wages of Ksh13,750 about $130 (£91) a month, leaving them to struggle to pay the bills. With the deal, the lowest paid teacher will take home a basic salary of Ksh19,323 up from Ksh13,750 while the highest paid will earn Ksh144,928, up from Ksh120,270.

The teachers will also get hardship and special schools allowances at 30 per cent and 10 per cent of their basic salaries respectively.The two allowances had been frozen by the government in June 2009.

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Exams postponed!

The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) on Monday said it has postponed the national exams by three weeks to recover lost time occasioned by the teachers strike.

Candidates sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) will commence their exams on October 15, while pupils sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) will do their exams from December 4.

Education minister Mutula Kilonzo said schools will next year be expected to open for their first term in February instead of January.

The implications

Pushing back the exams to allow students to catch up with lost lessons would have serious implications.
This would affect marking and releasing of the results, which takes at least one month to complete.
Postponing the exams, would trigger an educational crisis by wreaking havoc on the school calendar next year.
Firstly, exam markers are teachers who use the December holidays for purposes of marking. It would otherwise not be possible to have them during the school term.
Releasing the results late would affect selection of candidates to join Form One and affect university programmes by delaying admissions.
The exams were scheduled to start on October 4, with Home Science practical followed by other practical tests and optional papers, which run up to the end of the month. Theory papers were to start on November 5.
This year, 820,255 Standard Eight pupils will sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams in more than 23,000 schools countrywide.
Another 437,782 will sit the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education test in more than 7,000 schools.
The teachers strike jeopardises the future of the candidates and the smooth running of the educational calendar.

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Students Flock to Library During Strike

Students flocked the Kenya National Libraries in the country following the teachers strike in the last three weeks. A spot check by the Star Newspaper revealed that many students, mainly candidates have been spending the better part of their days in the facilities revising for the national examination since the beginning of the strike.

“The library is very important as one can study undisturbed compared to home. The main challenge is that we lack teachers guidance in our revision,” said Denice Mwashuma, a form two student in Murray Girls High School. Mwashuma said they had returned home on opening day as there were no teachers at school.

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