Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has accused cartels in the Ministry of Education of micro-managing schools to divert resources.
Deputy Secretary General Moses Nthurima questioned the motive behind the withdrawal of Sh600 million activity funding from schools plus “recurrent inconsistencies” in disbursement of capitation funds.
He said it was part of the cartel’s schemes to create confusion, purposefully “to eat school money”.
Addressing the 44th Kenya Secondary School Heads Association annual conference in Mombasa, Nthurima claimed the cartels were running the secret schemes behind the back of new Education Cabinet secretary Prof George Magoha and called on the government to rein in on them.
“Yesterday, the Cabinet secretary was almost crying here that he is being sabotaged. We are calling upon the government to rein in on these cartels,” he said. “Now they are buying excess textbooks. Who do you want to help with those excess textbooks?”
Nthurima said it was disturbing that as teachers were struggling to deliver for the Kenyan child, “the ministry is pulling us backwards.”
He questioned the rationale behind the Sh6,000 infrastructure money per child, which the ministry must authorise.
“Why do you want to authorise the funds? If the money is delivered for the child let it be put under the management of the board. You will hear that the government director is coming in, I don’t know who else is coming in? Why do you want to manage the funds?” posed the official.
“Since these things have been happening for a very long time, I want to ask the new CS that we really want to see him decisively deal with the ministry because some of the concerns that we presented here, it was like he was hearing them for the first time.
Whenever we sent letters to the ministry to raise concerns, there was always somebody who intercepted them hence there have never been replies,” Nthurima said adding that Magoha should be given more time to manage the ministry.
Concerning the Competency Based Curriculum and the 100 per cent transition, which have been key highlights of the conference, Nthurima said the government should review teachers’ salaries as their workload had increased.
“As we roll out the CBC and the 100 per cent transition, we need to look at the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Teachers must be compensated,” Nthurima said.
He expressed full support for the new curriculum and the transition policy. The official said harmonisation of teachers’ allowances should be done before the next CBA in 2021 to ease pressure of teachers scrambling to work in cities and towns.
He said the demand for housing was the same in all urban areas and, therefore, there was no point paying teachers in North Horr or Lodwar lesser house allowance than their counterparts in Nairobi or Mombasa.
Greed and selfishness
Nthurima observed that job groups of commissioners at the Teachers Service Commission and similar job groups of teachers attracted different salary scales, and painted a picture of greed and selfishness.
“In other commissions the job groups of commissioners and other staff are equal. We want harmonisation,” he said.
Nthurima said teachers were unable to access quality healthcare.
“We have a legitimate concern that the insurer, which receives Sh5.6 billion annually, is only after money and does not care about teachers’ health,” he said.