Monday, September 10, 2012

Pleas to avert the on-going teachers strike

by Thomas Bwire

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has urged the striking teachers and lecturers to be sensitive to the country’s economic status in their demands for pay hike. Breaking his long week silence, the President pleaded with the teachers and lecturers to resume duty, saying the government is committed to dialogue.
Kenyan President Mwa Kibaki
President Kibaki says the government would do what is possible to address their salary dispute.
“Let us be reasonable in our demands and always give dialogue a chance in resolving any misunderstanding that may arise,” President Kibaki said while reading out a written speech.
He made the remarks at Moi Primary School in Nakuru, after laying the foundation stone for the proposed Trauma Centre at Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital said. Teachers and university lecturers have been on strike since last week, paralyzing services in the education sector.

All the academic staff in public institutions have remained off the classroom and maintained they will only return to work after their demand have been addressed by the government. A visit to some of the public schools in Kibera was no different as pupils also stayed away from schools and only a few could be seen.

Children cleaning at Olympic Primary School in Kibera
The teachers strike was called by Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), urging teachers to stay away from class and asking them to ignore a court order outlawing the strike until their demands for a hefty pay rise of 300 percent increment agreed upon with the Government in 1997 and which was to be paid in phases.

Students learning on their own
KNUT chairman Wilson Sossion asked teachers to keep off classrooms until their plight is addressed fully. Most of the pupils have now been left at the mercy on no teacher in sight and instead learning by themselves. The focus is now on the Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo, to see how he will engage both parties for the seek answers to the on-going strike.

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