Better pay, welfare of TVET tutors top list of union's demands to CS

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Teachers have asked Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu to re-open the non-monetary Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) they signed with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) also wants the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) tutors be moved back to TSC.

Speaking during a meeting Machogu yesterday, Kuppet noted that following the transfer, the 3,780 trainers were left out of the fourth phase of CBA increments.

“The established practice in our democratic governance since 2002 is that every president has given teachers something. President Uhuru Kenyatta gave us the CBA of Sh54 billion. We know what we want from this administration and President William Ruto should be prepared to give it to us,” said Kuppet Chairman Omboko Milemba.

The CS assured that the government was committed to improving the welfare of teachers.

“We are negotiating with the Teachers Service Commission on some of these issues and we expect the Kenya Kwanza government to support our request of raising teachers salaries,” said Machogu.

In 2019, Labour Court judge Nelson Aboudha quashed a decision to transfer the teachers from to PSC, ruling that TSC was the only mandated employer of teachers. 

Defending the move, the then Vocational and Technical Training Principal Secretary Kevit Desai urgued that the State was creating a new scheme  of service for technical tutors.

On the CBC, the union urged Machogu to provide the necessary legal framework to ensure a smooth transition to junior secondary schools, saying the Presidential Working Party on Education Reform may not resolve the matter in two months.

However, Machogu assured that the team will provide guidance on the issue in a preliminary report next month.

Speaking in a separate event, the CS made a turnabout on his controversial remarks on universities funding.

Machogu claimed he did not rule out continued funding of public universities by the government.  

“I wish to assure universities of the government’s commitment to fund them. We had a meeting at the Dedan Kimathi University over the weekend and some may have misconstrued my remarks. I want to clarify that nobody said the university fund will be scrapped,” said Machogu at the Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology when he opened a boarding facility and a mechatronics workshop. 

His remarks came amid outrage. Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) on Monday said that they would push for the sacking of Machogu over the remarks.

Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga said the statement went against the Kenya Kwanza pledge on funding of higher education.

But yesterday, Machogi said he has scheduled a meeting with the unions.

He said the government will continue to fund university education through capitation and infrastructure. However, Machogu maintained that public universities should strive to generate additional income through research and innovations.

“We are encouraging universities to see if there are other ways in which they can generate additional revenue other than depending on the government,” he said.

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