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Teachers unions clash over junior secondary, funding of education

Kuppet Secretary General Akelo Misori (left) and Knut Secretary General Collins Oyuu. [File, Standard]

Two teachers unions have differed over placement of Junior Secondary and education financing reforms.

In separate presentations to the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) differed over reforms in the education system.

Kuppet told the working party led by Prof Raphael Munavu to consider moving Junior Secondary to high schools, a move opposed by Knut.

In their presentation, Knut pushed for the Junior Secondary learners to be retained in primary setup.

However, Knut wants the level of education-Grade Seven, Eight and Nine-renamed as Intermediate level or senior primary.

Insiders argued that renaming of the new level of education is seen as a way of justifying retention of these learners in primary schools.

There has been an argument that Junior Secondary school was meant to be a high school affair hence the title.

Kuppet Secretary General Akelo Misori however argued that the curriculum for Junior Secondary is designed for secondary school level education with abstract concepts introduced across the subjects which were previously in Form One.

“Only secondary schools have the human resources, libraries, laboratories and more importantly the culture for Junior Secondary. Teachers at that level are trained to deal with adolescents whose onset starts at 13 years,” Misori said.

Knut Secretary General Collins Oyuu however told the task force that there are facilities in primary schools compared to high schools that can be leveraged on to anchor this level of education.

Oyuu argued, the move would also curb wastage and ease transition.

He also said that there is adequate capacity of teachers with high education available in primary schools which can teach the said learners.

Knut also argued that teachers have undergone the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) training and have practiced on its approaches compared to the secondary teachers.

The placement of junior secondary school has been a major point of departure between the two unions with insiders saying that membership has been at the Centre of the sharp difference.

Knut and Kuppet have also differed on education funding model.

Kuppet suggests an enhancement of capitation at the basic education level to improve learning resources.

Knut however observes that teachers in Arid and Semi-Arid Land should be considered and given proper incentives for hardship allowance since different areas require different treatment.

“You cannot rate teachers in the Central region with a teacher serving in Marsabit and expect them to deliver the same concept equally. We want these teachers to be well facilitated since the area they are operating is quite different,” Oyuu added.

Oyuu said the government should also consider taking back the nursery school education to the national government. Presently, under the constitution, Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) is a devolved function under County Governments.

“Basic education starts from the ECDE all the way to Primary and Secondary schools, pushing them to county governments causes a constitutional crisis,’’ Oyuu said.

Knut also says the Early Childhood learning (ECDE) is not clearly recognized as part of Basic Education, noting that many counties have weak structures with limited funding and management proposing a review in legislation.

Knut also wants the government to revive the school feeding programme that collapsed in 2019 saying it will enable teachers to maintain learners in schools.

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