The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) will demand for compensation for primary school teachers who have been assisting to teach in junior secondary schools (JSS) since the recently recruited teachers are inadequate.
Knut Secretary-General Collins Oyuu yesterday said that thousands of their members are qualified to teach in JSS and have already been allocated lessons, and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) should compensate them.
“We can’t look as learners suffer. TSC is trying but we must help them. Those with the necessary qualifications are teaching in JSS, but as a common labour practise, there should be additional pay for additional labour,” he said.
In February, TSC hired and deployed 10,000 teachers and 20,000 interns to JSS, but with more than 23,000 public schools, most institutions received one teacher or two.
Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association (Kepsha) chairperson Johnson Nzioka said that learning is going on in JSS despite the staffing challenges.
“We’ve engaged the qualified teachers and most of the books have now been delivered. However, the capitation funds we were promised haven’t been disbursed.
“For primary school learners, we received 20 per cent instead of the 50 per cent allocation for first term. We don’t have money to buy instructional materials and for the general purpose of running schools,” he said.
Mr Oyuu revealed that Knut has formed a sub-committee within its steering committee to deal with JSS matters and that on Thursday, they will meet with Kepsha officials to discuss the “real situation on the ground”.
The chair of the Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers Peter Sitienei requested TSC to prioritise deployment of specialised JSS teachers for special needs education (SNE).
He added: “We’ve not received the grant for SNE yet the cost of living has gone up. Some school heads have called me asking for early closure of schools. Children with special needs are vulnerable and should be considered as first priority when disbursing funds to schools.”
Most SNE schools are boarding while learners with less severe disabilities are integrated in the regular schools. On top of the Sh1,420 annual capitation primary school learners receive, those in SNE get an extra Sh9,000.
The TSC has advertised for qualified teachers to apply for deployment to JSS to shore up the numbers and the deadline for application is today. However, Mr Oyuu faulted the criteria set by the commission saying that it will leave out many deserving cases.
To qualify, a teacher must have scored a mean grade of C+ in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education or its equivalent and at least C+ in their two teaching subjects.
“The criteria shouldn’t be based on secondary school scores but the latest qualification that a teacher holds. It should also factor in the teaching experience of a teacher. There are teachers who scored C-plain in KCSE but went ahead to perform highly in undergraduate studies. Their C plain shouldn’t be used to condemn them,” Mr Oyuu said.