A teachers’ union wants grades 7, 8 and 9 to be domiciled in primary instead of secondary schools.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary-general Collins Oyuu said primary school teachers can handle junior secondary.
Mr Oyuu wondered why the government was spending money building extra classrooms in secondary schools.
For day schools to succeed and control indiscipline, he proposed, junior secondary should be domiciled in primary schools.
“Who do you want to occupy the vacant classrooms in primary schools? Do you want those classrooms to be our houses?” he said at the 17th annual Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association (Kepsha) delegates conference on Wednesday in Mombasa.
“The classrooms should be utilised by bringing grades 7 and 8, and an additional classroom… Grade 9. Our primary school teachers can handle them since 80 percent of teachers are graduates and some have master’s degrees.”
But the Knut boss called for stakeholder engagement on any educational matter.
“Knut shall not work in isolation. We will work with all stakeholders to fight for the rights of teachers. Teachers must all the time be trusted. My role is to speak on behalf of the teachers in this republic. Teachers are the jacks of all trades and masters of all,” he said.
Knut also wants the Ministry of Education to recruit more teachers to address an acute shortage in public primary schools and increase their salaries.
Current world order
He said inflation is taking a toll on teachers with life becoming increasingly unbearable, adding that the professionals have become a laughing stock.
He said Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has allocated an additional Sh14.9 billion to Teachers Service Commission (TSC), whose budget has now risen to Sh296.6 billion from Sh281 billion this year. He said the funds should be used for salaries and recruitment.
Teachers want Sh27,195 as the minimum basic salary to Sh35,897 for B5s.
“We are the best examples for the communities to emulate and join this respectful and noble professional but we have become a laughing stock while the rest of the professionals are living in the current world order. We are suffering due to stagnated salaries,” said the unionist.
He urged the ministry to ensure that teachers get adequate training.
Mr Oyuu decried inequities in education because of the uneven distribution of professionally trained teachers especially in disadvantaged areas.
He urged the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and TSC to negotiate with teachers on raising their salaries.
“This should be before the 2022 polls. Let’s sit and negotiate, it is our right. Teachers should be empowered, adequately recruited, remunerated, supported and motivated. They should be remunerated well because they play many roles,” he said.
“As a union, we cannot sit back and watch the government demotivate teachers, especially those who have volunteered themselves to work the extra mile.”
He said Knut has been lenient and understanding during the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He urged parents to play their roles instead of abdicating them to teachers.
“Headteachers have suffered in their roles but you have always succeeded,” he said.