More than 10 million learners and parents across the country can now breathe a sigh of relief after the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Thursday suspended its plan for a national strike to allow for negotiations.
This means that the national examinations set for October and November for close to 1.7 million candidates can now go on as parties engage in talks.
It also means that schools will re-open on Monday for third term without fear that had been occasioned by Knut’s strike threat. The teachers’ union had threatened to start their strike on September 1.
After more than six hours of marathon talks, Knut and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) yesterday agreed to form an eight-member team to look into issues at the centre of the planned strike.
The team has until early October to submit its report to TSC and Knut. Its focus will be on controversial teacher appraisal and performance contracting for heads of institutions, promotion of more than 30,000 teachers and transfers, also known as delocalisation, among others.
Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion Thursday confirmed that talks went on well and expressed confidence that the issues raised will be addressed amicably to avoid disruption of learning in schools.
TSC Chief executive officer Nancy Macharia in a statement said the meeting took place in “an open, candid and cordial environment”.
“After intensive deliberations, both parties agreed to hold a five-day retreat between September 30 and October 5 for an in-depth examination and consensus on all the emerging issues. In particular, matters relating to transfers, career progression and teachers’ professional development and teacher appraisal programe will be addressed in a conclusive and comprehensive manner,’ said Mrs Macharia.
She said TSC is committed to an amicable settlement of issues affecting teachers.
Mr Sossion confirmed that there will no strike saying the move to withdraw the threat is to allow for condusive discussions.
“We will allow learners to report back to schools starting Monday and learning to continue as we address the issues raised,” said Mr Sossion.
He said TSC had admitted concerns raised and acknowledged that appraisal and delocalisation are not working.
“They also admitted that promotion of more than 30,000 teachers must be done and the schemes of services that were in place but replaced will be reinstated,” said Mr Sossion.
He said the team of eight will play a key role in originating policies “in the right manner” and ensuring that they are negotiated and agreed upon.