Irene Githinji @gitshee
The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) yesterday told the government to urgently address the infrastructural problems in secondary schools caused by the government’s 100 per cent transition policy.
Kuppet secretary general Akello Misori led other officials in raising concerns over the current state of secondary schools, saying the policy has elicited unprecedented strain to the general infrastructure of the institutions.
The union said the country could be staring at a crisis in the general administration of schools in coming weeks unless the issue is addressed urgently.
The situation has further been worsened by a shortage of teachers, with Misori saying that the strain has not only left their members a frustrated lot in as far as admission is concerned but also in the administration of curriculum in schools.
They now want Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to ensure infrastructure funds are speedily released to address the gaps.
The union said no infrastructure funds have released to schools so far to address the constricting space caused by increased Form One admissions.
“The 100 per cent transition has caused a lot of strain on basic infrastructure in secondary schools. There are limited classrooms, the toilets are not sufficient and for those who run boarding sessions, they do not have enough space in the dormitories and dining areas among other infrastructure challenges,” he said at Kuppet offices in Nairobi.
He added: “The situation in secondary schools right now is cause for major concern and we ask the CS to ensure infrastructure funds are released to address the gaps posed by the 100 per cent transition. There is no infrastructure funds to address the problem of laboratories and dormitories so this is a real challenge and must be addressed.”
Form One admission is still on-going, as the Education ministry last week extended reporting dates to January 18 in a bid to ensure no child is left out.
Misori further said it was the union’s expectation that the government facilitates construction of at least two additional classrooms in each school saying reports indicate institutions designed for two streams are now admitting four. Also of utmost pressure, said Misori, is the fact that there are no teachers to address the transition issue.
And although there is a budget allocation to have the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) employ at least 20,000 teachers, Kuppet is concerned that nothing has been done so far.
“Instead, what we have seen TSC addressing is replacing teachers who have gone through natural attrition and others who have left the service. That is not addressing the transition issue. None of the 20,000 places has been advertised so we do not know what is happening and unless this is addressed, we see a real challenge,” he said.
At the same time, the union has called for the creation of a template as a policy from the Ministry of Education to address the issue of equity in schools. He said some schools are getting undue attention in terms of capitation for infrastructure or other projects.
“If we want to develop as a nation as one unit, we must have a deliberate and strategic template addressing the issue of infrastructure in our schools. We do not expect some schools too, for instance, have 10 laboratories, yet others have none, yet we are running a national programme for all Kenyans,” he said.
Kuppet also raised concern over the terms and conditions of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) teachers transferred from TSC to the public service.
He stated that the said teachers have not received their salaries in the last three months and are no one is addressing their payroll issues. To this end, Kuppet threatened to stage a demonstration to the Ministry of Education offices to protest neglect of TVET teachers if their welfare is not addressed by Wednesday. They also want the process of employing teachers commenced before this weekends.
“No one is addressing their payroll and this will cause confrontation between us, TSC and the public service. Unless these teachers are paid their salaries and their welfare by Wednesday we will lead a serious demonstration and those teachers will not be in their institutions to teach unless this is addressed,” Misori said.