The Ministry of Education and the teachers’ unions are bracing themselves for another showdown even as schools re-open next week. This time, the bone of contention is the reshuffle of head teachers undertaken by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has protested bitterly against the transfers, accusing TSC of not consulting widely before moving the school heads. Knut secretary general has threatened to call a strike if TSC does not revoke the transfers.
While it is not always the case that an employer consults an employee while effecting some structural changes, it is prudent to inform staff of pending adjustments and explaining the need to do so. This not only instills confidence in staff but also demonstrates humanity and transparency. Authoritarian tendencies only breed contempt and can demoralise hard working teachers.
We therefore call for sobriety and effective engagement among TSC and the teachers’ unions on this issue to avoid any disruption of the school calendar. The ongoing education reforms under Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i should always be in the interest of learners and geared towards improving quality of instruction.
TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia has been on record saying that they intend to make the terms of service for teachers among the best in the world. The employer should therefore consult teachers more often while implementing their programmes.
Still, the two parties must constantly work at ending past adversarial approach to issues. They both need each other and their main goal is to step up the quality of education. In the coming year, the ministry, TSC and the teachers’ unions should resolve to work together and make history as true custodians of our children’s education. They owe this to our country’s future.