By AUGUSTINE ODUOR
Parents, who have equally been agonising about their children having been sent back home a day after schools reopened, are now demanding that the Government resolves the crisis to end the suffering of their children.
The move comes even after another attempt to end the strike flopped Tuesday after Finance Minister Njeru Githae and Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua failed to appear before Parliament’s Education Committee. The two were to be grilled by MPs on the standoff.
It also became more unlikely that learning in public universities would resume any time soon after the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) and the Universities Non-Teaching Staff Union (Untensu) differed with the administration during talks.
Officials from both unions said they would not resume talks unless Githae puts a proposal on the table. They also said they would not meet the universities’ administration unless they proposed an acceptable counter offer to their demands.
Tuesday it became clear that the Government is not keen to end the teachers’ strike after the chairman of Parliament’s Education Committee David Koech called the Ministry of Finance a “serious obstacle” to resolving the stalemate.
He said the Treasury holds the key to ending the work stoppages, and expressed the disappointment of Parliament even after President Kibaki said the Government is committed to dialogue.
“This ministry is becoming an obstacle to the problems we are facing today, especially when it comes to issues of education,” added Koech.
He said the House Committee convened the meeting on request of Githae and was disappointed the minister did not honour his word by turning up.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers Tuesday termed the meeting a waste of time and vowed to go on with the strike. This was the latest high-level meeting the Government held days after a similar one at the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) attended by Knut and senior officials from the Ministry of Education and State Law Office. “The strike is on until our demands are sufficiently addressed. We have wasted another day without a solution. But let them consult and get back to us,” said Knut national chairman Wilson Sossion.