The Teachers Service Commission and the Kenya National Union of Teachers hold themselves out as cultured institutions but their latest cold war tells a different story. Caught in the fray are millions of parents and learners who now risk being collateral damage in what’s unfolding — a fierce battle of egos. If events of recent months are anything to go by, the two protagonists have gladly chosen not to agree on nearly everything.
The Knut-TSC row has raged over various never-ending sticky issues, including non-remittance of union dues, kicking out of Sossion from the TSC roll, salaries, promotions and grades not to mention the recent emergence of the Kenya Women Teachers Association. The new curriculum has also been an elephant in the room.
On Friday, it emerged 190,000 teachers would be dealt a blow after TSC moved to recover billions of shillings paid to Knut members when a Sh54 billion-salary increment was implemented in 2017. This has been interpreted to be another grand scheme to frustrate the Wilson Sossion-led union.
But Sossion has hit back, saying the commission has grown horns and “we will de-horn it." In fact, Sossion and his team have forwarded to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) proposals to substantively trim TSC powers and have it domiciled at the ministry.
It is our view that something has to be done quickly to end this drama whose continued stay will undesirably affect the education sector. As a nation, we have an obligation to protect the education sector from harmful forces. Investment in knowledge pays the best interest in life and a country with an educated citizenry secures itself a sure future.
We take this opportunity to urge the government to pursue workable models that will ensure synergy between education stakeholders, TSC and unions included. Kuppet should be careful not be used as a catalyst in the wars. There can never be a better time to work together.
We laud efforts of TSC to ensure teaching becomes an even more attractive profession. We equally praise Sossion and his team for jealously guarding teachers’ interests. However, these efforts are doomed when they talk at each other rather than with each other.