What you need to know:
- TSC classifies northern Kenya as a “hard-to-staff” region, where schools are understaffed and vacancy notices usually attract few applicants.
- Last week, the teachers were told that their applications had been unsuccessful because there were no suitable replacements.
Non-local teachers posted in northern Kenya have demanded security from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) before returning to their posts after their request for transfers to other regions was rejected.
Through the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), they had demanded to be transferred out of the region, citing frequent attacks by suspected al-Shabaab terrorists.
“The expatriate teachers face serious security threats from al-Shabaab, which has killed 40 teachers in the past decade and four in the past two months alone,” said Kuppet Deputy Secretary-General Moses Nthurima.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) classifies northern Kenya as a “hard-to-staff” region, where schools are understaffed and vacancy notices usually attract few applicants.
“We call on the Cabinet Secretary for Internal Security, Prof Kithure Kindiki, to establish a special KDF [Kenya Defence Forces] unit to escort teachers when they travel in the region, to protect teachers in shack settlements and to ensure their safety. Teachers should not bear the cost of security failures," said Mr Nthurima.
He said the union had unsuccessfully lobbied the TSC to relocate the teachers, some of whom have been camping at the commission's headquarters and have not reported back to schools since they opened three weeks ago.
Last week, the teachers were told that their applications had been unsuccessful because there were no suitable replacements. They were told to report to their stations or face disciplinary action. The teachers are mainly from Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties.
Lack of replacements
Mr Nthurima called for a review of salaries for teachers working in the three counties, as well as those in Turkana and Tana River, which also face security challenges. He argued that the current hardship allowance teachers earn is “not commensurate with the dangers teachers face in these regions”.
Since the end of last year, the TSC has stated that it would redeploy teachers transferred under the de-localisation policy.
By June 2023, the commission had received 46,962 transfer requests from secondary school teachers but had processed only 20,055 due to a lack of replacements or vacancies in their preferred stations.
Of the 35,959 primary teachers who applied for transfers, only 17,942 were successful. In other post-primary institutions, 10,967 had applied but only 2,113 were successful.