Its time to reopen schools, release the reviewed school calendar

Its time to reopen schools, release the reviewed school calendar

The Kenya National Union of Teachers has called on the Ministry of Education to release the reviewed schools’ calendar and plan for a full resumption of learning. 

Knut secretary-general Wilson Sossion said the opening of schools was overdue. 

Students need to resume learning because there has been a sustained decline in coronavirus infection rates, he said yesterday during the commemoration of World Teachers’ Day.

Teachers celebrated the day outside schools for the first time as Covid-19 closure entered the seventh month.

Its time to reopen schools, release the reviewed school calendar

Sossion called on the government to guarantee the safety of teachers and learners by ensuring that all Covid-19 regulations are put in place.

At the celebration, Teachers Service Commission chairperson Lydia Nzomo said tutors have made invaluable contributions in shaping the destiny of humanity.

Nzomo said that the pandemic has added to the many challenges faced by the already overstretched education systems.

“However, it has also offered unique opportunities for teachers to provide leadership in relation to response in crisis and help the world communities reimagine the future of education,” she said.

Nzomo said the commission will continue to work with teachers and other stakeholders in the education sector to protect the right to education.

The commission’s CEO Nancy Macharia said teachers have been sharing the Ministry of Health guidelines with residents.

Macharia said that many teachers have been busy engaging learners in academics, life skills and guidance and counselling.

The commission has, however, not disclosed the number of teachers who might have died from or infected by the virus.

The Knut secretary-general also used the platform to address their dispute with their employer, TSC.

Its time to reopen schools, release the reviewed school calendar

Sossion accused the TSC leadership of being responsible for the union’s loss of more than half its membership in the last two years.

He said Knut is only receiving 1.3 million monthly and that TSC is deliberately mutilating the Knut membership to kill the union. He hailed the 2017 – 2021 CBA he signed as the best.

He also accuses the commission of disobeying court orders and dishonouring a pay agreement signed in 2017.

The union’s claims come days after the National Assembly Speaker Justine Muturi accused Knut of trying to blackmail the TSC with what he termed as a parliamentary resolution.

The speaker said Macharia notified him of the matter after Knut wrote a way forward on the ongoing impasse between them.

“It is notable that the Kenya National Union of Teachers did obtain the proceedings of a Departmental Committee of this House including its minutes,” the document by Speaker Muturi reads.

The speaker notes that what Knut wanted TSC to implement is an extract of the minutes of the Committee of August 11.

“It is, therefore, logical to conclude that proceedings of the Committee and part of its journal was deliberately and prematurely disclosed to Knut in blatant and clear breach of the Standing Orders and the provisions of sections 13 and 25 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act, 2017,” the document reads.

In his advice on the matter, Muturi said the recommendations fronted by committees in Parliament cannot be implemented before being considered and adopted by the House.

Already, the government has began phased reopening of schools, all universities and TVETs.

Education CS George Magoha had announced that universities, teachers’ and technical training colleges would be reopened on Monday, October 5.

The reopening will begin with all final year students in universities and students taking final exams in teachers’ and technical training colleges.

“The boards of TVETs and TTCs will announce the resumption of in-person for the other classes with consideration given to those taking practical courses,” Magoha said.

University councils and senates have been instructed to determine the appropriate dates for resumption of other students. 

To safeguard those to report back, the ministry directed that all learning institutions enforce strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

President Uhuru Kenyatta during his 12th Covid address last month said that the country should not rush to reopen schools at the expense of children. 

Uhuru said the schools should only be reopened once their safety in the school environment has been assured.

As the virus caseload in the country approach 40,000, teachers who had been employed in private schools continue to toil to make the ends meet.

Private schools have asked the government to consider teachers in their institutions as a vulnerable group as they stay without pay.

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