Written by Protus Simiyu
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School children playing in a Mumias School.
Learning in public schools could be paralyzed on 1st of July as teachers vow to down their tools and go to streets to push the government to honor and implement their salary increment agreement that was reached in 1997.
Teachers in Bungoma County led by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Kenneth Nganga and the 2nd vice chairman David Wamalwa said having perused through this year’s budget read in parliament by the Finance minister Njeru Githae, they have realized that no single money was factored for their salary increment.
Mr. Nganga said prior to this year’s budget reading, the teachers Union had earlier presented proposals requesting treasury to allocate funds for the implementation of a 300 percent salary increment agreement.
He said since the agreement was reached in 1997, the government has been reluctant to implement the salary agreement in phases while asserting that the only language that the government understands is through picketing.
The Secretary General held that teachers in Bungoma County are set for the strike only waiting for the official communication from the national KNUT office.
“Since the beginning of this year we have given enough strike notices to the government and we believe that is enough, we are not going to play games with the government anymore,” Nganga said.
Mr. Nganga pointed out that teachers will not allow the government to militate their fundamental rights Saying 15 years doing the line the government has also not implement the 1997 Legal notice Number 534 concerning teachers allowances.
Further, Nganga said teachers are not happy with the coalition government led by President Mwai Kibaki and the Prime Minister Raila Odinga as they have not increased teachers’ salaries for the last 10 years since they took power from the KANU government.
“Teachers have really supported this coalition government and they have literally done nothing to implement teacher’s salary increment agreement despite the country’s economy registering a positive deviation,” he charged.
He said as the KNUT National Executive Council (NEC) meets next week to chat the way forward, he said teachers will not accept anything less than the government accepting to implement the salary increase program wholesomely and not in phases as earlier agreed having been delayed for the last 15 years.
In September 2011 teachers downed their tools to protest the government refusal to implement the third face of the 2007 salary increment.
The move compelled the government to enter into an agreement that ended the strike with a promise that the pay review will be accommodate in the 2012-2013 financial year.
According to the Finance Minister Njeru Githae during the Budget reading, he said medium-term priorities in education spending include catering for expanded enrolment at all levels of education and training through increased infrastructure and teaching staff. This intervention will help improve access and ensure quality education.
Thus, an additional Ksh.19.2 billion was allocated to education in FY 2012/13, raising the total allocation by 9 percent to reach Ksh.233.1 billion in FY 2012/13.
Key budgetary allocations to the sector include: Ksh.118.7 billion to cater for teachers salaries including recruitment of additional 10,000 teachers in the next financial year; Ksh.8.1 billion for development of infrastructure and facilities in public universities; Ksh.480 million for purchase of computers for schools; Ksh.1.6 billion for support to Early Childhood Development, including employment of pre-primary teachers; Ksh.1.9 billion for building classrooms and improving physical facilities in primary and secondary schools; Ksh.8.3 billion for free primary education; and Ksh.19.7 billion for free day secondary education.
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