We will not report to work until transferred, Asal teachers vow

Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia (left) before the Senate National Cohesion Committee on May 30, 2023. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Two weeks after schools re-opened for the third term, teachers from other regions serving in Arid and Semi-Arid Land areas are yet to report to work.

The 300 tutors who are still camping at the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) headquarters vowed not to return to the area saying they will not take anything less than a transfer.

Peter Kamoen, a teacher in Mandera said even after applying for transfers, the employer has not affected the move.

‘‘For the last two weeks, we have been here seeking audience from TSC boss Dr Nancy Macharia, but, unfortunately, the commission maintains that we go back to work,’’ Kamoen said.

Evans Nyaundi pleaded with the Education Committee to intervene saying all their pleas had fallen on deaf ears.

‘‘We are urging Julius Melly and his committee to please intervene and address our issues so that TSC can give us a transfer,’’ Nyaundi said.

Charles Achol, a teacher in the region noted that insecurity and bad road network make it difficult with the available transport being costly to afford.

‘‘And because the place is not secure, we are seeking transfers. Travelling by air is Sh25,000 out of the monthly earnings of Sh21,756. On arrival, I am forced to hide in caves like peacekeepers where I have to operate from,’’ Achol stated, adding that this has forced teachers not to travel home during school holidays.

In a meeting with TSC Chief Executive Officer Dr Nancy Macharia, Luanda MP Dick Maungu wondered how teachers who are traumatised, can deliver services to learners.

‘‘Lives of our teachers are at risk. How can you expect a teacher to hide somewhere for a night and wake up the following day to attend to learners in class,’’ Maungu said.

Haro Abdul, Mandera South MP noted that teachers waste a lot of time chasing their transfers hence not serving the intended learners.

‘‘I wonder what time these teachers attend to our children when they are moving from offices in search of transfers. Don’t you see we are doing a lot of disservice to the children?’’ Abdul said.

Narok MP Rebecca Tonkei blamed TSC saying a year after the parliament directive, the Commission is still holding on 26,871 teacher’s transfers against their wish.

‘‘We have teachers even after applying for the transfers, you still hold on to them against their wishes,’’ Tonkei said.

However, Dr Macharia said transfers of teachers are guided by the availability of vacancies, the need for replacement, staffing norms and medical grounds.

‘‘The Commission has a statutory obligation to ensure equitable distribution and optimal utilization of teachers in all basic public learning institutions with a view to ensuring that learners across the country access quality education,’’ Dr Macharia said.

Dr Macharia said the majority of teachers employed in ASAL later requested transfers back to their home counties.

‘‘Lack of suitable replacements, lack of vacancies in some counties and lack of local teachers in ASAL and hard to staff areas to take up the positions,’’ Dr Macharia stated.

In a separate meeting with the National Assembly Education Committee chaired by Tinderet MP Julius Melly, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said many teachers were forced to stay in makeshift or police stations for their safety.

"We have removed all non-local teachers from risky to safer areas until the current wave of threat is handled," Kindiki said.

Melly wanted the government to guarantee teachers' security from the third term going forward.

‘‘Schools are closing and will be opening in a month's time, the teachers who are stigmatized on watching their colleagues killed. How can we help such teachers come to terms,’’ said Melly.

Kindiki said: ‘‘We put them all in one place where we feel their safety is guaranteed as we continue addressing the problem.”

The CS urged the TSC to transfer non-local teachers after serving a short period and the government to grant scholarships for local students to take teaching courses to take up the places.

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