Teachers in several regions yesterday defied their union to attend training on the new curriculum as Education CS George Magoha vowed not to back down on its implementation.
Prof Magoha, who spoke while launching the training targeting 91,320 teachers at Uhuru Gardens Primary School in Nairobi, said the government has invested heavily in the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) thus abandoning it would be imprudent.
“When I decide to do something, I do it and have never failed. Let us stop wasting time talking. The CBC train left the station in January; there's no going back. We'll not fail under my leadership,” he said.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers had (Knut) had asked their members to boycott the four-day training to equip them with skills and knowledge on the CBC terming it illegal.
“The law requires an exercise of such magnitude must have guidelines and a gazetted commission to anchor the entire process. Besides, the due process of reforming the content of the curriculum was never followed to the letter, hence making the exercise illegal,” Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion had said.
On March 19, Knut released a report showing most schools are not fully prepared for the 2-6-3-3-3 curriculum.
And yesterday, teachers in North Rift, Nyanza, Kakamega, Eastern, Coast and Eastern ignored Knut and turned up for training.
In Kakamega Central, Knut branch secretary Tom Ingolo and chairman Nelly Malieso were arrested over claims of disrupting the training.
Area police boss David Kabena said the two officials and two other people will be charged with causing public disturbance and incitement.
In Eastern, Knut officials disrupted training in Kitui County.
Mwingi Knut secretary Jonathan Mutambu led other union officials in storming various training centres and ordered teachers out.
They said they will not allow the training until their demands are addressed.
“Our decision is in compliance with a circular by Sossion that the training should be halted until an agreement on the contentious issues. The training should not also be held during school holidays and the teachers should be facilitated fully,” said Mutambu.
Close to 500 teachers who had gathered at Migwani Training Resource Centre, Thokoa, Nguutani, Mbondoni, Nzeluni primary schools were forced to go back home.
In Uasin Gishu, teachers from 487 primary schools and 277 from private schools assembled in 24 centre for training against Knut's advisory.
In Nyanza, regional director of education Richard Chepkawai, who spoke at the Lake Primary School in Kisumu Town, said the region had registered over 90 per cent turnout.
Chepkawai said at least 14,613 teachers from 4,871 primary schools in Nyanza had turned up training in various training centres.
Chepkawai dismissed claims unionists had stopped the training in the region.
"That is what some people have claimed, but what is important is we have had a good turnout," he said.
At Coast, teachers in Taita-Taveta turned up for training as Knut officials claimed their members had been intimidated into defying the union.
County Director of Education Simon Wanjohi had claimed 100 per cent attendance but Knut branch secretary Lexox Mshilla put it at 70 per cent.
“We have seen the text messages sent to our members by TSC instructing them to attend the training without fail. They have been warned that if they fail to attend, they would be disciplined,” said Mshilla.
“I have gone around the 11 training centres and found all public and private primary schools heads and their teachers are participating in the exercise. The attendance is 100 percent,” said Wanjohi.
In North Rift, Uasin Gishu Director of Education Stanley Gitonga said 2,292 teachers are being trained on the new curriculum.
Over 90 per cent of teachers have already reported in various centres for training and we expect more to join. We are expecting 100 per cent turn out before the end of the day," said Gitonga.
In Elgeyo Marakwet, County Director of Education Masibo Kituyi said the training that ends on Friday started without hitches with at least 1,800 teachers expected to attend.
Magoha said his ministry has put in place measures to ensure effective implementation of the curriculum noting some of the problems identified will be addressed along the way.
"If you have constructive ideas on how to address the challenges we have, please do so. But don’t waste time opposing us. Kenya has some of the best teachers in the world. If you go round schools, you realise children are being taught. You can choose to see it or close your eyes,” Magoha said.
Meanwhile, TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia said the training is free and those charging teachers will be punished.
“We have received reports some of our officers are asking teachers for Sh1,000 each to attend the training. This is criminal and those doing it will be disciplined. The government has released Sh500 million to cater for teachers’ meals, transport and accommodation,” Macharia said.
She said teachers had defied Sossion's order and attended the training across the country in big numbers.
Report by Protus Onyango, Stephen Rutto, Renson Mnyamwezi, Jackline Inyanji, Paul Mutua, Mactilda Mbenywe and James Omoro.
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