KNUT urges State to boost security in Mandera for smooth learning

Hassan Hussein, Knut Executive Secretary Mandera County addressing teachers at Moi girls secondary school on July 3, 2023. [Ibrahim Adan Ali, Standard]

A teachers’ union has called on the national government to enhance security on Mandera to ensure smooth learning in the county

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) national assistant treasurer Kullow Sheikh and Mandera branch executive Hussein Hassan, who spoke during the union’s 2023 AGM in Mandera on Monday, July 3, 2023, lamented that increased insecurity has affected learning in the region as teachers and learners are forced to keep off schools.

Hassan said: “The national government has a mandate to ensure its citizens are safe and secure wherever they are, and that is what we are asking it to do to ensure teaching and learning in Mandera is not disrupted by insecurity.”

Their remarks follow the reported abduction of three teachers from a primary school in Shirshir within the Mandera North constituency three months ago. The security forces later rescued the teachers with the help of residents.

Hassan said he is committed to working with the two levels of government to improve the working standards of teachers in the region.

“We must ensure our teachers, regardless of where they work, have better living standards, “said Hassan.

He said schools in the region remain under-staffed due to insecurity but pledged to pressurize the Teachers Service Commission to post more teachers in the border county.

"We have been hit by an unimaginable shortage of teachers over the years following the security crises that left the county underperforming in national examinations," said Hassan.

Sheikh, the guest of honour during the AGM, urged teachers in the area to bear the situation and give the government some time to improve it.

“I pleaded with you not to desert the county as the area is already faced with a serious teachers’ shortage. Despite the insecurity challenges staring at our teachers, we still plead with them not to leave,” said Sheikh.

Mandera has a shortage of 2,000 primary school teachers. The county has 300 public primary schools. The county needs another 550 public secondary school teachers.

The area lost 28 teachers in 2014 after a bus they were travelling on their way to Nairobi for the December holidays was attacked by militants.

Those who could not say the Shahada, a tenet of the Muslim faith, were shot at close range, witnesses said.

At least 19 men and nine women were killed in the bus attack, said the then police chief David Kimaiyo, of the attack that targeted non-Muslims, and which was followed by a mass exodus of teachers from Mandera, especially non-locals.

In January 2020, the county faced another teachers’ crisis after TSC transferred tutors citing insecurity after three of them were killed by the Al Shabaab during a night raid.