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Do not punish teacher addicts, heads advised

NYANZA
By By KENAN MIRUKA | November 25th 2013

By KENAN MIRUKA

KISII, KENYA: School heads have been urged to refer teachers suffering from alcohol addiction to rehabilitation centres instead of recommending their interdiction or dismissal.

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) said such teachers could apply for three months’ leave with full pay to go through rehabilitation at desginated centres.

Speaking in Kisii during the union’s Kisii branch annual general meeting, Kuppet Vice Chairman Julius Korir said application forms for addicts seeking rehabilitation were available at county education offices.

“Alcohol addiction is a reality in our schools today and 60 per cent of discipline cases handled by the Teachers Service Commission are occasioned by drunkenness. School heads are usually quick to recommend interdiction or sacking of such teachers yet it is a disease like any other,” said Korir.

Economic security

Korir, who was accompanied by the union’s national secretary for secondary schools Edward Obwocha and local branch officials, said alcohol addicts need support and help not condemnation.

“There is hope for such teachers now because they can get three months’ leave with full pay, like any other sick person, to undergo rehabilitation,” added Korir.

He said the union had drafted a proposal and forwarded it to the National Authority for Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse in a bid to start capacity building for teachers with alcohol addiction.

The union leaders also advised teachers to invest in business and property like land, which appreciates quickly, to boost their economic security.

“There are teachers in this country who are not part of any association, union or savings and credit co-operative society, and who don’t have any insurance arrangement. These teachers are broke all year round. Let us change our attitude and plan our future,” said Obwocha.

The officials announced that Kuppet plans to establish a radio station to address and communicate teachers’ issues effectively among other reforms. They accused the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) of sleeping on the job by failing to conduct job evaluations in the education sector.

“It appears SRC is only keen to address politicians’ pay issues. They recently addressed MPs’ pay and have moved fast to address Members of County Assemblies’ grievances, forgetting other sectors. If they don’t discharge their mandate, we shall disband the commission,” charged Obwocha.

Recently, teachers working in hardship areas initiated a multimillion shilling rehabilitation centre that will be put up in Laikipia County.

The Sh112 million Tumaini Counselling, Rehabilitation and Training Centre will be used to rehabilitate teachers who are depressed and those who abuse drugs.

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