A storm is brewing between primary school head teachers in Kakamega Central sub-county and their union (Knut) over transfers of around 100 teachers from Kakamega town to bridge understaffing in rural schools.
Head teachers from the rural setting of Lurambi Division have petitioned the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to ignore the union’s opposition to the ongoing teacher rationalisation exercise and expedite the release of letters for tutors to go the understaffed rural schools.
The petition to the TSC was delivered by Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Lurambi branch member, Simeon Angolo, who led a group of 30 head teachers in rebuking opposition to the exercise by the sub-county union chairman, Tom Ingolo. Ingolo had threatened the commission with a teachers’ go-slow should the exercise proceed.
But in rebuttal, Angolo termed the threats selfish, personal and discriminatory to pupils deprived of quality education due to under-staffing in other parts of the sub-county. Schools in Kakamega town have enjoyed an advantage of excess teachers on government payroll as those in neighbouring Lurambi division grapple with understaffing challenges that have created a huge disparity in academic performance.
TSC is targeting at least 100 teachers, including deputy head teachers, deemed to be in excess in the town. Ingolo insists head teachers had orchestrated the exercise to target dissenting voices in their schools. But Angolo, who is also the head teacher at Shirumba Primary, says; “Each day, a pupil in Lurambi loses two lessons because of understaffing.
We want the rationalisation exercise and we demand that those handed letters report to their new stations immediately,” he said. TSC staffing officer Daniel Kioko recently said teachers’ release letters had been recalled to allow further consultation. He maintained the exercise would be conducted in a humane manner.
“There is no logic for some schools in the town to have excess workforce while those in the rural areas continue to suffer a deficit. Any excess will be off loaded to schools where they area needed,” he said.
TSC has exempted sick teachers, the physically disabled and those close to retirement. Documents seen by Scholar reveal that Knut branch secretary Wakhisi Bitonye and Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association (Kepsha) officials had endorsed the list.