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Kenya's public high schools suffer as teachers strike bites

By Francis Ontwoma and Luke Anami | Published Tue, June 18th 2013 at 00:00, Updated June 18th 2013 at 12:45 GMT +3

By Francis Ontwoma and Luke Anami

Teachers began withdrawing their services systematically across the country’s public high schools as their unions insisted that they down tools.

Confusion marred most schools in Western Counties of Kenya as some teachers have decided to keep off classrooms until a clear directive is issued by teacher unions.

However, several counties including Nakuru, Mombasa, Kilifi and parts of Nairobi schools enjoyed relative calm and leraning was going on uninterupted.

At the same time it has emerged that in some schools however it is business as usual as teachers affiliated to rival union Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) have defied the strike orders.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) is the union pushing for the strike and yesterday they held talks with Labour cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambi over their grievances on salaries and allowances.

Kuppet chairman Omboko Milemba appeared on KTN Sunrise show Tuesday morning and insisted the strike was on as the union’s governing council held meetings to chart way forward.


At St Peter Mumias Boys, teachers were attending to classes though word has it that they were keenly waiting to get notification from the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers due later Tuesday.

“We have teachers attending to their lessons but there are others have stagnated waiting to hear what our union has to say,” said a teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Kakamega County Kuppet chairperson Johnstone Wabuti stated that the union had issued clear instructions for teachers to keep off classes today until a formal communication from their national office.

“ We are waiting to hear what our national office will have for us after looking at what the government has pledged to offer, we are moving around telling teachers to desist from teaching until we get this big announcement,” stated Wabuti.

At Kakamega High learning was on top gear as some teachers said they would not go on strike.

“I am in school and ready to go to class, I am a member of Knut and not Kuppet and therefore I will only keep off the classroom on Knut’s directive” said Brenda Mwinamo of Kakamega High School.

Knut Mumias Executive Secretary and a member of the National Executive Council John Wesonga told journalists at the weekend that Kuppet was way off base to issue strike notices to teachers instead insisting that the law barred them and it was only Knut that was mandated to do so.

“Kuppet has no collective bargaining agreement with the government, they have no case to press for teachers and therefore what they are doing is an illegality,” argued Wesonga.

In Eldoret, Secondary school teachers in Uasin Gishu County defied the National government’s request not to go on strike and instead stayed away from classrooms.
A spot check by The Standard Digital revealed that no learning was going on at Uasin Gishu High school even as students reported to school.
A section of teachers had not reported to work.
“The strike is on though the students taking their midterm exams. Of course there is no way we could abandon the exercise but most of us are not working,” a teacher who sought anonymity said.
Only BOG and intern teachers undertaking teaching practice were the ones invigilating  mid term exams while the rest of the students went around idling in the school compound. Similar events were reported in Bungoma, Vihiga and Busia counties.