More than 100 teachers have quit the profession following a government policy, implemented since last year, barring them from serving in their home counties, says the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut).
Speaking on the sidelines of the African Confederation of Principals at Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa, Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion claimed that the so-called delocalisation policy is breaking many families whose kin are employed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
Mr Sossion said many teachers who were transferred have opted to resign or seek employment in county governments.
“A number have opted to take early retirement, others have moved to county governments and some are thinking what to do. Don’t force any policies, it is dangerous and worse than poison,” he said.
There are about 23,000 headteachers in primary schools and about 8,600 principals in secondary schools.
“We will strike on September 1, to oppose or rectify any policy formulated without our involvement which we feel shall injure the teaching profession,” Mr Sossion warned.
He called on Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Amina Mohamed to call a crisis meeting with the teachers union to avert the impending strike which could paralyse operations in third term when thousands of candidates are expected to sit their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams.
The CS is expected to officially close the continental conference on Thursday.
The Knut boss said there must be extensive consultation before implementation of any policies that might affect the sector.
“We are questioning certain policies where we have not been adequately involved. We want promotion of teachers. It is a right, it is not negotiable or reducible,” he said.
Knut also wants TSC to do away with Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development (TPAD).
“Teachers are against TPAD, it is a big issue globally, it can’t work and it is not a good system of appraising teachers. Europe has dropped it, who are we to adopt it in Africa? It is interfering with teaching, it is de-professionalising teaching,” Mr Sossion said.
Mr Sossion called on the teachers employer to agree with their employees on an acceptable method of appraising them.
“Closed appraisal system is good, but the open appraisal system is too laborious, too extensive and the tools being used are hurting teachers. This time we are on a policy war with the government, we want to protect and preserve the freedom of this profession,” he said.
Meanwhile, Knut has warned the government against its plan to have all students in Kenyan schools wear the same uniform.
Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang recently said plans are underway to have all students wear the same uniform from January next year.
But Mr Sossion said schools have a mandate to choose their uniforms.
“It is impossible; you can’t use school education system to rehabilitate Rivatex Mills which had died. This is purely business just like the free primary schools class one laptops project. I wonder whether class one pupils are ICT wizards. There is a lot of business in education,” Mr Sossion said.
He said the same school uniform proposal must be disregarded by all players in the education sector.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially open the African Confederation of Principals as the Knut expects issues affecting the profession are addressed.
Mr Sossion urged Mr Kenyatta to recruit some 104,000 teachers to address the shortage in primary and secondary schools.
“We agree with TSC on employment of teachers. Torching of schools is because of delocalisation it is not instigated by teachers, it is students who are reacting,” he said.