Report lays bare horrors suffered by teachers in Mandera

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Wilson Sossion (right) with Union's Chairman Wycliffe Omuchayi addressing a press conference in Nairobi regarding the massive transfer of teachers. [Willis Awandu/Standard]
A report by a teachers' union details attacks on teachers and where they happened.

Female teachers who fled North Eastern region were often harassed if they corrected male students, according to a new report.

The survey, presented to the Senate Education Committee by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), detailed the plight of non-local teachers in Mandera, Wajir and Garissa.

The teachers say they were compelled to dress according to Muslim teachings.

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“Teachers have suffered discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress and language," the report seen by The Standard reads in part.

"Female teachers are not allowed to correct male students and they have been forced to wear deeras and hijabs,” it adds.

Knut also claimed that its members were targets of frequent attacks by terror group Al Shabaab, who they say are aided by locals.

Cases of students turning against their teachers and female ones being sexually harassed were also documented.

“(Cases of) locals pretending to be Al Shabaab (operatives) or conspiring with the same group to target non-local teachers are common. Students also attack teachers through stoning, clobbering and issuing verbal attacks,” the report says. The report, signed by Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion, named specific schools where attacks were reported in the past two years.

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While tabling the report before the Bomet Senator Christopher Lang’at–led committee on Tuesday, Mr Sossion was asked to prove the allegations.

Yesterday, the nominated MP asked the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to rescind a decision to interdict teachers who fled from their work stations in Mandera and other parts of North Eastern region for security reasons.

“TSC should stop victimising teachers looking for justice,” Sossion told the committee.

He spoke during a meeting between the committee and representatives of non-local teachers from Mandera. The teachers had petitioned the Senate to help them secure transfers to other regions.

“The commission should come up with a framework to ensure teachers in these areas have a conducive working environment and the Government should guarantee their security,” added Sossion, who was accompanied by Knut Chairman Wycliffe Omucheyi.

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Dr Lang’at said his team would meet with TSC and Interior ministry officials today to seek a solution.

“(TSC) should employ and deploy untrained teachers in North Eastern," Sossion said.

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