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We will not go back to class, Meru JSS teachers tell TSC

By Harun Mugambi

MERU, KENYA – Despite the reopening of schools, junior secondary school teachers in Meru County have taken to the streets, demanding better employment terms and a pay increase.

The teachers, who staged demonstrations in Meru town, North Imenti sub-county, accused the government of abusing their services by failing to confirm them as permanent and pensionable after working for two years as interns. They have vowed not to return to class until the government enrolls them on permanent terms.

Kithinji Lewis, secretary general of junior secondary schools’ teachers in Meru, has expressed their frustration over the government’s failure to address their grievances and keep its promise to confirm about 26,000 teachers on permanent and pensionable terms.

“We are tired of being treated badly by TCS and the president, ” Kithinji said.

Mr Kithinji has warned any junior secondary school teacher who Will be found teaching despite them being on strike.

The teachers marched to their local Teachers Service Commission (TSC) offices to seek redress, demanding the immediate release of funds by the government to pay for the immediate confirmation of interns by the TSC.

Makena, an affected teacher, echoed Kithinji’s sentiments, stating, “We are not scared of being intimidated but we will continue downing tools and sabotaging learning until the government addresses our plight because we cannot continue offering services while earning peanuts on intern program”.  

The teachers also accused the TSC of using discriminatory methods while employing junior secondary school teachers. They called for transparency in the employment process, questioning why a 2016 graduate would be placed on an internship while a 2023 graduate would be employed on a permanent and pensionable basis.

The protesting teachers urged the TSC to respect court orders issued by the Employment and Labour Relations Court. They also called on the Kenya National Union of Teachers and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers to support and push the government to address the issue to pave the way for a smooth learning process upon school reopening.

This protest highlights the ongoing struggle of teachers in Kenya for better employment terms and conditions. It remains to be seen how the government and the TSC will respond to these demands.

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