In a day’s time, parents will deliver their students to institutions a controversial government decision threatens to escalate into a full blown teachers’ strike.
At the centre is a dispute over a historical mass transfer of headteachers by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
Last week, the commission wrote to 557 primary and secondary headteachers effecting their deployment to new stations immediately. The move has elicited mixed reactions within the teaching fraternity, including court cases pitting disgruntled educators against TSC and Education CS Fred Matiang’i.
On Friday, the High Court in Kisumu ruled that a case seeking to block the transfers by a disgruntled section of the affected primary and secondary teachers be referred to the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
TSC and the Cabinet Secretary have been sued in the matter. The transfers, set to be implemented this term, have seen heads of some of the most successful secondary schools moved in what the TSC says is meant to ‘delocalise’ the learning institutions.
TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia said the process of transferring the head teachers targets those who have worked for nine years in one station.
“We have completed a process of reorganising the headship of some schools in the country through staff re-deployments in what we have come to refer to as delocalisation,” said Macharia.
These transfers are just part of the changes in Kenya’s public education sector undertaken by tough talking Matiang’i.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) is already threatening to call a strike over the transfers.
“If our concerns are not addressed, then teachers will withdraw labour and schools will not open,” said Knut Secretary Wilson Sossion.
Religious leaders too have weighed in on the transfers.
“The move was done without the consultation of the church, a major contributor in education development,” said Acting Eldoret Catholic Diocese Bishop Maurice Crowley.
Macharia, however, said this is part of the government’s determination to enhance national cohesion and bolster professionalism.