The plight and concerns of teachers should be a priority

The first Kenyan President and founding father of our sovereign nation, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta repeatedly said that Kenya, a newly independent country, faced three major challenges including diseases, ignorance and poverty which had to be addressed. 

He lived to address those challenges and left the reign for other leaders to do so too. The late icon indeed highlighted the essence and the place of education in our country. With this in mind, I beg to reveal some issues pertinent to teachers and more so the cons of underpayment.

Jael Jaoko is a very hardworking and dedicated teacher. She teaches English and Social studies subjects. She has been registering candidates for their final exams for more than fifteen years. To her, teaching is a passion and the only lifeline. During those days, she would always come to class as early as a quarter to Seven to assist pupils in their studies. The way she handles classes would tell you that teaching is a calling and not the only option as many people would view it. Come K.C.P.E examination release, Jael would produce champions in the whole District. At the same time, Jael’s name will never fail to be mentioned among the teachers with exemplary performers in the whole province.

We would always accompany her to receive awards. She is one kind of a lady who will never hide her joy and enthusiasm especially in events when success set forth. Needless to say, pupil centered learning is her first priority while student motivation is her central dimension. Despite being a widow and a mother of four, she could hardly raise the university fee for her two bright sons. She took a loan. This made life more difficult for her as she struggled to put food on her table. At the end of every month, she would pocket utmost Sh6,000.

She needs to buy unga, household necessities as well transport and other miscellaneous stuff.  At best, the concerned mother would ensure that what her children put on, reflect her image.

This is one of the trajectories and bitter experiences that primary and secondary teachers face in a contemporary society. A Paltry salary, heavy workload and various responsibilities are the norm. Attaining high mean scores is pressure that translates to more time to invest in the children. Well, I believe that even the naysayers will today back me up in my quest to reveal what actually happens on the ground.

It was not until recently that I came to learn that my great professor is only a P1 teacher. Many have been resilient and term the condition as a “protracted life in servitude” that moulds simple children into noble and respected human beings. It is really tormenting to be a victim of circumstance, you know? Moulding Kenyans is a not easy. Jaoko's story unravels and depicts similar experiences that thousands of teachers face in an attempt to live the lives of their dreams.

The creme de la creme of our societies are offshoots of teachers sweat. They are products of the teachers toil. Say, for instance, our MPs who failed to voice out teachers’ needs, CEOs of autonomous commissions who cannott listen to teachers’ concerns also passed under the umbrella and unwavering guidance of our teachers. Why must we forget them?

Teachers pay rise should be prompt, timely and sustaining. In support of this, the government in conjunction with lead stakeholders need to look into the welfare of teachers. My projection reveals that Kenya economy is picking and will effectively pick beginning the year 2020 due to sustained economic development as oil mining and exploitation takes root. This is not a hearsay but a true picture on what will happen on the ground.  This should also be reciprocated to the teachers’ welfare. The sovereign country of Kenya needs to foster effective teacher motivation for a worthwhile future and living to achieve the dreams of our founding father the late Mzee Kenyatta.

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KNEC Teachers