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We deserve bonus for FPE success, say school heads

BUSINESS
By | September 30th 2009

By Patrick Beja and Ngumbao Kithi

Primary school heads want a Sh600 million pay reward for successful implementation of free primary education.

Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association (Kepsha) Chairman Joseph Karuga said the 18,000 school managers have been pursuing the prize money since 2006.

Mr Karuga, yesterday requested President Kibaki to honour the pledge he made to school heads in 2003 when the programme was launched.

"This is not much money. The President gave a directive that we get Sh600 million for successfully implementing the free primary education but it has been elusive since 2006," Karuga said.

He said this during the ongoing Kepsha national delegates conference in Mombasa. Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi opened the conference, yesterday.

Scheme of service

During the conference, Kepsha officials said they did not mind being transferred from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to the Public Service Commission if that would see implementation of their scheme of service as school managers.

Karuga, together with Kepsha Secretary-General William Mukoya and Treasurer Boya Ebrahim, said teachers’ pay should be harmonised with that of counterparts in the Civil Service.

He said it was unfair for a primary school headteacher with a degree or masters to get little pay compared to a civil servant with similar qualifications. He claimed this makes teachers miserable.

"Teachers with masters degrees in primary schools get less pay compared to those with the same qualifications serving under the Public Service Commission," Karuga noted. And on responsibility allowances, Karuga said his membership was getting a raw deal as the current package was too low and was not reflected in the pension pay.

He noted that a primary head teacher gets less than Sh300 per month as responsibility allowance and this is not included in the pension. "We want to be truly managers with better responsibility allowance reflected in our pension package," he said.

Kepsha also wants the scheme of service to include the element of career progression that would see them get automatic rise in salaries as opposed to increments after a battle between TSC and Kenya National Union of Teachers, which happens rarely.

Karuga said they were consulting the Directorate of Personnel Management, TSC and other stakeholders to push for a new scheme of service for headteachers.

Meanwhile, Karuga reiterated his call for strengthening of polytechnics to promote practical skills rather than focusing only on academics, saying the country should take care of those who do not excel in examinations at primary and secondary level.

More Vocational centres

He said Vision 2030 would remain unrealistic if the Government failed to promote the middle learning centres.

He said the conversion of polytechnic to universities would not help the country in industrialising by 2030. He said instead we should embark on building of more vocational training centres to cater for thousands of school leavers who do not qualify to join universities.

"Vision 2030 and millennium development goals will be a mirage if we do not change the trend," he said.

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