Press Statement | 2 May 2020

KUPPET welcomes the proclamation of Public Order No. 3 of 2021 on the Coronavirus Pandemic, which has lifted the lockdown on Nairobi, Machakos, Kiambu, Nakuru and Kajiado counties. This decision comes as a reprieve for millions of Kenyans who have suffered job losses, business failures and deep anxieties from COVID-19.

As a union, we support the scientifically-proven COVID-19 control protocols. We commend the government for its vaccination initiative, which has benefitted large numbers of frontline health workers and other essential workers including teachers.

Given the state of our healthcare services, Kenyans must faithfully observe the established protocols to prevent their catching the virus. The adage that prevention is better than cure has never rung so true in our country. We urge the government to equip public health facilities with the necessary COVID-19 management facilities including oxygen, ventilators and medicines to improve the level of care for COVID-19 patients.

Further to the President’s direction for all learning institutions to open as per the established calendar, we urge the Ministry of Education to urgently re-publish the term dates for parents. The Ministry should address the uncertainties around the resumption of learning on 10 May, for most classes in the primary and secondary schools.

Even more important, the Ministry must expeditiously address the financial constraints in schools ahead of the re-opening. As we speak, the Ministry is way behind schedule in the disbursement of capitation funds. Activities in many schools are slowly grounding to a halt, with Head-teachers and Principals unable to meet some of their schools’ obligations to staff, utility providers and other suppliers.

The government must also address the yawning teacher deficits in schools. The policy on 100 percent transition to secondary schools and new class establishment had revealed a teacher shortage of 97,000 before the pandemic. This deficit will be made worse with the retirement of more than 25,000 by 30 June.

To address this shortfall, the TSC must take steps to convert current intern teachers into permanent employment, recruit at least 50,000 new teachers in the next financial year, and a similar number over the next three-year period to meet the demands of the Competency Based Curriculum.

By AM

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