Bungoma teachers furious with Didmus Barasa over CBC chicken remarks

A plate of chicken.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The teachers have given Mr Barasa a 14-day ultimatum to apologise or they will take undisclosed action against him
  • The controversial second-term lawmaker said teachers in Bungoma had wiped out chickens from parents’ homesteads on the pretext of facilitating CBC practicals

Teachers in Bungoma County are furious with Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa following his remarks that some of them have been eating parents’ chickens in the name of Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) learning.

The MP, in a Twitter post this week, called for the curriculum to be abolished, saying teachers were using it to exploit parents.

The controversial second-term lawmaker said teachers in Bungoma had wiped out chickens from parents’ homesteads on the pretext of facilitating CBC practicals.

These remarks have angered Bungoma teachers, with Kenya National Union of Teachers officials in the county calling them demeaning and dismissing them as untrue.

Demand apology

The teachers have given Mr Barasa a 14-day ultimatum to apologise or they will take undisclosed action against him.

Speaking to journalists in Webuye town on Thursday, Bungoma East Knut secretary-general Aggrey Namisi said the MP’s remarks were demeaning and had portrayed teachers negatively.

The remarks, he said, had left teachers feeling embarrassed and viewed as terrorists.

"We as teachers feel aggrieved by his words, which we [see] as disrespectful, demeaning, undermining and casting aspersions on the character and position of teachers in the society," he said.

"We therefore wish to petition members of the public, leaders, professionals and any other Kenyans of goodwill to desist from mentioning teachers negatively and concentrate on addressing the CBC matter …." 

Teachers resisted CBC

Mr Namisi said that when CBC was introduced five years ago, teachers had warned against it, citing the cost implications, but Parliament approved the system despite objections from stakeholders.

"The public, including Mr Barasa, must be reminded that Knut gave a dissenting voice at the inception of the roll-out of CBC on the basis of public participation in all our 110 branches across the country," he said.

"Today, the chicken has come home to roost, and the donkey of society must carry its weight on its back and that is teachers."

The unionist said the MP is fuelling conflict between teachers and the community.

Struggling teachers

As Mr Barasa and other lawmakers receive millions in mortgages, car grants and mileage claims, he said, Kenyan teachers are choking in the grip of a weakening economy, living in slums and inaccessible villages to mould future leaders.

Mr Namisi said: "As Mr Barasa sits in a state-of-the-art, air-conditioned, red-carpeted Parliament 12 days a month to earn over a million … the Kenyan teacher is leading learners in sweeping markets, which should have been cleaned by authorities, in the name of CBC, earning peanuts out of it."

His sentiments were echoed by Mr Samuel Wanajala, of Lufwindiri Primary School in Webuye East, who said Mr Barasa received votes from teachers and he should not demean them.

"Yes, the Kenyan teacher is poor. Yes, the Kenyan teacher is the beast of burden of our society,” he said.

“Yes, the Kenyan teacher cannot afford chicken for themselves and their families, and yes the Kenyan teacher is the garbage stone upon which every village scorn, joke and disrespect is sharpened.”

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