Union backs intern teachers' strike, seeks negotiations

Kuppet Secretary General Akello Misori (right). [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) on Tuesday threw its weight behind the continuing strike of intern teachers and called on the government to set aside funds to hire tutors.

The strike, which poses a threat to the education of over 2.5 million Grade 8 and 9 students in junior secondary schools (JSS), is unfolding against the backdrop of prolonged school closures due to extensive flooding nationwide.

“For the second day running, learning has been paralysed in all JSS classes as the teachers protest,” read part of the letter by Kuppet secretary general Akello Misori.

In three letters addressed to Parliament, the National Treasury and the Teachers Service Commission, Misori sought for their intervention to allow learning and teaching to resume.

“The commission should be enabled to address the teachers' grievance through negotiation within the law. The process should result in the regularisation of employment terms of 46,000 intern teachers, a majority of whom work in the JSS,” he said.

The union has called on the employer (TSC) for a sit-down meeting seeking an amicable solution to the stand-off.

“Given the enormity of the crisis, we would appreciate meeting your side at the earliest convenience,” the letter reads.

In a separate letter, the union has asked the Treasury to set aside funds for the employment of the interns.

“Given the foregoing, the National Treasury should immediately initiate the process of earmarking resources for the Teachers Service Commission, to employ teachers on permanent and pensionable terms,” the letter reads.

The letter that is dated May 14 is addressed to the Principal Secretary of the National Treasury.

On Monday, Owino Okello, the chairman of intern teachers in Nairobi, said that they would not yield to threats in their decision to strike. 

He cited a court ruling that nullified the internship status for trained, registered, and licensed teachers. “In light of the ruling by the Labour Relations Court in Nairobi, and the subsequent nullification of internship for trained, registered and licensed teachers, we will obey the ruling of the court by staying away from schools for internships,” Okello said.