By Rawlings Otieno
Students in public schools will continue to stay out of the classrooms for the third week running after a Cabinet sub-committee failed to strike a deal with teachers.
And another special meeting has been called again this morning that will be attended by Finance minister Njeru Githae, to unlock the teachers strike.
Githae has been evading meetings meant to discuss unrests that have seen teachers abandon classrooms to push for their pay hike as per an agreement with the Government in 1997.
Githae has twice snubbed summons by a parliamentary committee on Education chaired by Mosop MP David Koech, which wanted him to shed more light on the matter.
The minister’s move was in contempt of the powers and privileges of the House bestowed on such committees and could be liable for punishment if the matter is brought to the attention of House Speaker Kenneth Marende.
And with the stalemate persisting, teachers’ union officials have vowed to push on with the strike for as long as it takes until their demands that they tabled are addressed.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) chairman Wilson Sossion said, so far, the State had not tabled anything substantial and vowed to stay out of classrooms until teachers’ salaries are harmonised with those of other civil servants.
The union official also took issue with the Government for awarding allowance increment to permanent secretaries yet the lowest paid teacher takes home only Sh13,000.
“The Government has money and should pay teachers accordingly. We are ready to stay out of school for as long as it takes until our demands are met,” said Sossion.
Speaking to The Standard on phone, Sossion said yesterday they were not part of the meeting between the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Treasury regarding the strike but expressed optimism that a deal would be reached today.