07 January, 2009

Looming Teacher's Strike In Kenya

The Kenya National Union of Teachers(KNUT) has called on its members to a strike slotted for 19th January, 2009 barely three weeks from the re-opening of schools after the December holidays. This follows a series of meetings, negotiations and bargains with the Teachers Service Commision(TSC) and a final meeting with the minister for education Professor Sam Ongeri.The teachers rejected a Ksh 17.3 Billion payhike offer to be effected in a three year period.

To some extent i believe the teachers are greedy because a strike may not solve much but inconvenience students, parents and other stakeholders apart from lowering Kenya's educational standards.They should have atleast reached a compromise that is reasonable taking into consideration the state of the economy, the massive expenditure being incurred due to the temporary existence of the coalition Government, last years post election violence and the lost time resources and massive re-deployment of teachers that resulted from the skirmishes. Sometimes this strikes dont accomplish much and as a trained concilliator i would have urged them to accept the offer as due to the present times even a little increase in salary offers tremendous support and help to the many Kenyans who are struggling to meet their daily needs and wants.Futhermore with the brutality of our mediaval police force i expect many teachers to be injurred during their peaceful protests and demonstration!(The Police CommisionerBrigadier Ali boasts that the police force often acts with measured response and in a professional manner perhaps he should watch SKY TV and CNN and see how the protesters in Britain and America are being treated for protesting against the Israeli- Gaza military incursions- i pity us!).

On the other hand i believe their position is based on their previous practice and engagements with the previous Governments wherein deals were reached but there was no implimentation or the implementation period was unduly lengthened.At the same time, by the Kenyan politicians (Members of Parliament)refusing to be taxed on their hefty allowances and often selfishly increasing their emoluments ; a bad example and precedent has been set to the citizenry. The MP's normaly dont care when they increase their salaries and give no heed to public outcry as such they expect no different treatment from teachers. And if the teachers are selfish as is obviously manifest the students will be no better and will not hesitate to burn schools and their colleagues to vent their frustrations in the name of striking. What a vicious cycle...Parents, Kenyans ...brace yourselves we are formenting much trouble for ourselves in this 'man eats man society ' as is evidenced in the 2008 Information and Communication Technology Media bill recently assented into law!

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