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Teachers’ new exams demands

EDUCATION
By Augustine Oduor | May 4th 2021
Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) acting CEO Mercy Karogo. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Marking of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination scripts in some centres was temporarily stopped after examiners protested terms introduced by Kenya National Examinations Council.

The Standard established that the teachers objected to a new rule by Knec that reviewed an advance payment of about Sh20,000, often given to the teachers before they exit marking centres.

The teachers also declined another proposal by Knec to reduce the advance payment by half.

The examiners also wanted the transport reimbursement increased, saying the cost of travel went up due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions.

In addition to these, it also emerged that the teachers wanted an increase of the coordination fees, which they said had been fixed at Sh150 for many years. They wanted this increased to Sh500.

The protests were witnessed at State House Girls and Moi Girls High School in Nairobi.

Examiners at Buruburu Girls center said they were woken up at 4am to clear and exit the venue after they completed the exercise, in what insiders said was to bar them from joining their colleagues to protest.

Concern is now growing that the annual protests by examiners over terms and conditions of work may affect the credibility of the tests if the issues are not resolved.

Similar protests were noted last year and the issues raised were about payments and working conditions.

Knec acting Chief Executive Officer Mercy Karogo said the issues around marking of KCSE papers have now been resolved. “There were some in-house matters which we have sorted out,” said Karogo.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary-General Akello Misori said he has written to Knec demanding better terms for markers.

“We have asked the exams council to among other issues, improve working conditions for the examiners and also to revise their rates which have been in existence for many years,” said Misori.

Misori said the grumblings by markers saw the transport reimbursement increased by 50 per cent.

“But we do not have to always protest to be considered for increments and better working conditions,” said Misori.

The union wants transport re-imbursement for supervisors and invigilators from ASAL areas be reviewed upwards since most of the areas are expansive, forcing some to travel up to 200 km to reach their schools.

“The rates for counties such as Wajir and Tana River should be enhanced,” said Misori.

Misori said the elephant in the room is the rate paid to markers per paper which he said has been bone of contention.

He said that markers want the exams marking fees for each script by at least Sh50, citing the present harsh economic times.

Misori argued that papers like Chemistry Paper 1, Mathematics and English Paper 1 should each be paid at not less than sh100.

Presently marking each paper attracts between Sh51 to Sh58.

“Science teachers (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) need to be considered for allowances during practical. Other practical subjects like Agriculture, Building & Construction, Music and Home Sciences should be considered too,” said Misori.

The teachers’ union also want Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) to increase invigilators’ and supervisors’ allowances by 100 percent, saying the present fee has been fixed for a long time.

In addition to these, the union also wants school heads, also known as centre managers allowance which is presently Sh500, to be reviewed upwards.

Presently, KCSE supervisors in Nairobi and Mombasa are paid Sh695 per day for 18 days, translating to Sh12,510.

Supervisors from other regions earn Sh630 for the same number of days, translating to Sh11,340.

Invigilators in Nairobi and Mombasa earn Sh580 per day for 17 days, while invigilators from other regions get Sh460 for a similar number of days.

Secondary school principals take home a flat rate of Sh500 for 18 days, translating to Sh9,000.

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