Teachers threaten to boycott Knec exams coordination over delayed 2022 pay

Knut Secretary General Collins Oyuu.

Knut Secretary General Collins Oyuu.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Teachers will boycott the supervision and marking of national examinations at the end of the year unless they are paid for services they rendered in last year’s tests, a teachers union has said.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) warned that teachers will disrupt the national examinations that are scheduled for October and November if the Ministry of Education does not pay their dues. Learners in Grade Six will also undertake the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA).

Knut Secretary-General Collins Oyuu said teachers who supervised, invigilated and marked the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations are yet to be paid. He told affected teachers not to participate in a similar exercise this year if their grievances are not solved.

Two weeks ago, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said that the teachers and other contracted people involved in administration of the examinations would be paid by the end of July.

On Wednesday last week, the Principal Secretary for Basic Education, Dr Belio Kipsang, said the ministry has received Sh2 billion from the National Treasury to pay exam officials.

The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) has been struggling to pay exam officials due to budgetary constraints. Government funding for national examinations has remained the same despite the number of candidates rising every year.

"We were told the payment was factored in the budget. We have given an ultimatum to Knec that they should not engage us if the payment is not forthcoming," Mr Oyuu said.

The KCPE and KPSEA tests will begin on October 30 and end on November 2. The KCSE will run from November 3 to 24. The marking of KCSE will begin on November 27 and end on December 15.

Mr Oyuu was speaking during the annual general meeting of Knut’s Suba branch in Homa Bay County. He called on the government to address other welfare issues including increased capitation to schools, review of Career Progression Guidelines among other issues.

Mr Oyuu expressed concern that some teachers have been dismissed from their jobs when they are about to retire, thereby being denied their retirement benefits.

Knut wants all teachers who are fired by the government paid for the time they offered their services. Mr Oyuu proposed that compensation should be determined by the number of years the affected teacher was on duty.

The union also waded into the plight of Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teachers. Mr Oyuu asked the national government to intervene and streamline the payment of the teachers who are employed by county governments. Different counties pay varying salaries despite the teachers having similar qualifications.

Mr Oyuu said Knut is in negotiations with the Teachers Services Commission (TSC) to employ ECDE teachers. Another demand by the union is for headteachers managing both primary schools and junior secondary schools to have their salaries reviewed.

Junior secondary schools are hosted in primary schools and are run by the same headteacher.

Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang and county executive committee member for education, Mr Martin Opere, attended the meeting. Mr Kajwang asked Knut to advocate for the welfare and rights of teachers.

"Some unions are collapsing because of being in bed with the government. Some are on the verge of collapsing because they have been swallowed by the State and can no longer advocate for their members as required," Mr Kajwang said.