Teachers Strike

Striking teachers at a past demonstration. Pupils want the strike to end (Photo: kenyanjournalofhumour.wordpress.com).

By Lorna Abuga.

While the President maintains that he will not honor a court order and increase teachers pay, candidates in public schools are fearing they will perform poorly in their final examination this year due to lose of time.

The teachers strike is in its third week after they downed their tools to demand a pay increase of 50-60 percent. The decision on the pay increase was reached at through a court ruling but which was later termed by President Uhuru Kenyatta as an error. While insisting that he will not honor the court decision the President cautioned against taking economic moves that could kill the economy.

But students want the government to pay the teachers.

“We are expected to sit for our national exams in November and as per now we have not completed covering the syllabus and this is frustrating because most of us cannot concentrate on our studies at home,”

said Hector Carson, a class eight pupil at Moi Primary School Tambach in Elgeyo Marakwet county told the Kenya Monitor via phone.

The 14 year old boy appealed to the President to obey the court order saying this was a crucial moment when candidates were supposed to be doing final touches in readiness to the national exams.

“We are feeling so desperate because the government has insisted that the national examinations will go as scheduled despite the current standoff that has seen teachers down their tools,” said the aspiring pilot.

“The government should pay our tutors so that the children of the poor can also enjoy rights to education without interferences and by doing so it will seal the gap between private schools and public schools which has lasted over decades,” he urged.

Dorcas Kabutie, also a class 8 candidate at the same school adds that watching fellow learners in private schools proceed with learning as usual is really heartbreaking because at the end of the day

“we will seat the same examinations in November”.

“Since the strike began many pupils are idling at home and are spending most of their time playing and doing house chores because their parents are not there to monitor their schedule,”

says the 13 year old girl who aspires to be a journalist.

Their teacher, David Koech, has expressed fear over the performance of the learners in the upcoming national exams.

“The fate of the learners lies in the response of the government towards teachers demands and thereby as much as we feel the plight of our pupils there isn’t much we can do as teachers.”

Koech adds that in order for the government to exercise equity between public schools and private schools it will be forced to push the national exams to December so as provide enough time for public schools to recover the lost time.
The country will be waiting to see who among the teachers and the government will blink first. Already the Teachers Service Commission has threatened not to pay teachers on strike their September salaries, a threat that seems to be falling on deaf ears.