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KNUT should call off planned teachers’ strike

By The Standard | Published Thu, August 16th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 15th 2018 at 20:15 GMT +3

Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association (KEPSHA) delegates follow proceedings during the 14th annual delegates conference at Sheikh Zayed Welfare Centre in Mombasa County on Thursday 15th August 2018. [Photo: Photo/Kelvin Karani]

It has never been in doubt that concerns raised by teachers through their unions are meritorious. It is the chest thumping attitude adopted by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) that is the sticking point.

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Already, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers has distanced itself from the strike called by Knut, choosing the path of dialogue. Ideally, when parties talk to each other during a dispute, it presents the easiest way out of industrial action.  Knut need not issue ultimatums to the Government.

It is not Knut or teachers who bear the brunt of strikes, it is the learners. After prolonged strikes eat into their learning time, they are left with very little time to fully cover the syllabus, and that is normally reflected when candidates siting their national exams fail to score highly. Transfers, as this newspaper has said before, are normal and healthy. Extended stays in one station lead to lethargy, familiarity and a drop in standards.

Transfers, however, are not cast in stone. Even as unions object to what they call delocalisation, there might actually be some head teachers and teachers who support it. As such, Knut should moderate its stand and talk to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to chart an acceptable way forward.

Indeed, President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on the ministry of Education to reconsider its transfer policy to protect families that could be affected by delocalisation.

That is welcome and should lead to the shelving of the strike planned to coincide with the opening of schools for third term.

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