Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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Kuppet representatives showing solidarity by holding hands during a workshop held in Kitale addressed by its chairman Omboko Milemba (C) [PHOTO|Leonard Wamalwa|West Fm].
A teachers union has come out strongly to oppose the recently announced government move through the 2012/2013 national budget to hire 10,000 teachers.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (KUPPET) through their national chairman Omboko Milemba reminded the government to adhere to its earlier promise through the vision 2030 document to hire 20,000 teachers annually to curb the swelling teacher shortage in the country that has hit a record 80,000.
Addressing teachers representatives from parts of North Rift and Western regions in Kitale, Milemba said that the government had itself documented and been quoted in many occasions to be committed to hire not less than 20,000 teachers annually and thus the union is surprised at finance minister Robinson Njeru Githae's recent announcement that only 10,000 teachers shall be employed in this financial year.
"We are calling on the government to hire more 10,000 teachers on top of what the minister announced in the national budget recently to show its commitment in meeting the required standard ratio of teacher to pupil which is supposed to be 1:45 if the current shortage of 80,000 teachers is achieved lest the educational standards will continue to drop," Milemba said during the workshop at a Kitale hotel.
However the chairman appreciated the minister's allocation of funds to various sectors of education including the free primary education, free day secondary education and the money devoted to the children with physical challenges to access bursaries among other funds.
At the same time the chairman who was hosted by Kitale branch union officials including the secretary Furaha Lusweti and chairman Wafula Wekesa reminded the government to fulfill the promise it made to the teachers in the country to have their house and commuter allowances harmonized with those of other civil servants.
He also called for the 100 per cent salary increment for the same teachers to be effected by the end of this month, failure to which the teachers will have to stage a major strike to compel the government to meet their demands according to Milemba.
Milemba revealed that the government has again failed to factor in the budget the teachers’ demands which he said they had presented the document detailing the same to the treasury but to their surprise the minister mentioned nothing towards the same.
"We are not seeing the house allowances and commuter allowances including the 100 per cent teachers pay increase in the budget and for that reason we have resolved that if that money is not factored into the budget then I am asking our members who are the teachers to prepare for a major show down with the government in July until the teachers get what is rightfully owed to them by the government," the chairman said as he addressed reporters at the workshop.
He therefore urged the government to include the money in the teachers' salaries of this month to avoid the disruption that might face the education sector next month when they resolve to start their strike.
The workshop comprised of representatives of the union's Kitale cluster which comprises of Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Bungoma and Busia counties.
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