Teachers and their employer will this week hold a crucial meeting that will likely determine the fate of the planned strike scheduled for September 1. The Teachers Service Commission has invited the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) for talks on Thursday. On Friday, TSC will meet the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (Kuppet) officials ahead of re-opening of schools for third term next Monday. The meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, but it was moved forward after the day was declared a public holiday by the government.
Whereas Knut is pushing for a strike, Kuppet is backing talks, saying issues being raised can still be handled through negotiations. Last week, teachers scored a major victory when President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that the delocalisation policy be reviewed to ensure it does not break up families. President Kenyatta said he had received concerns that some families had been affected by transfer of school administrators to other counties. Later, TSC also directed a review of policy on performance appraisal.
Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion welcomed the President’s intervention. “It is the first time the President is directly intervening on union dispute issues with the teachers’ employer. It projects the President as a statesman, and this is the way to go,” Mr Sossion told Nation.
However, he said the union would not call off the strike until an amicable solution is found. The agenda of the TSC’s meeting with the teachers’ unions include promotion of teachers upon attainment of higher academic qualifications, and implementation. TSC has maintained that promotion of teachers will be based on work done and not academic qualifications, while Knut wants tutors to be promoted for going back to class.