Effects of Teachers Strike on Kenya’s Education Calendar

The recently concluded teachers strike   brought to fore the point that,the education sector in Kenya  is as dynamic and in some instances quite  unfair to the masses.

Why?Teachers Strike

Recently we had teachers go on strike  for Three(3) weeks ,despite this being the final term before Class 8 and Form 4 students sit for their national exams.

While the teachers had a right concern  that required immediate redress,the three week stalemate brought to fore the fact that the Kenyan education system dis-empowers students enrolled in public schools.

With the teachers on strike,children in public schools had only two options:

  • self tutor each other
  • stay at home and play

On the other hand,private schools were not affected.We cannot blame these institutions for having not supported the strike by those within the public sector,reason being that parents with  children in public schools had paid fee that was to be used in paying up salaries.This is not however to say that all teachers in private schools are paid well.

Effects of the teachers  strike

The strike despite having ended,also brought to fore the lack of an educational framework governing such situations.

Is there any policy paper on handling conflict within the education sector?If there is,the current Minister needs a copy.

Hon.Mutula’s   way of handling the situation was quite wanting,as he did not display his ability to handle conflicting situations without triggering  further resistance from the teachers. He continued to issue threats every other day,that bore no fruit.

At the end of the strike,he  while in an effort to help the candidates, issued a circular extending the  third term to Nov 23rd from 2nd Nov .He with the same breathe stated that all schools would open on 4th February. These declarations by Hon.Mutula left me with a couple of questions which  are yet to be addressed:

  • while its commendable for the national exams to be postponed,what happens to students in private school who will not be sitting for the national exams? Will they be forced d to stay in school for 3 more weeks  despite having been attending school while teachers were on strike
  • what happens to the parents? are they prepared to have their children on holiday for the whole of January when the household budget is usually overstretched due to the  December festivities?
  • will the students from private schools who reported to school in early September also be compelled to  go on recess on 23rd November and resume classes on 4th February?
  • If the private schools decide to ignore the new school timetable by re-opening on 4th January ,will this be held against them?
  • how does the government plan to  handle learning in public institutions in February with all the preparations that will be required before the March 4th election?

All the above  make me conclude that there is need for our education sector to be streamlined.

The teachers strike  serves as an eye opener on the need of the current and future leadership to critically evaluate the education sector.

 

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