Resolve stalemate with teacher interns

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024 06:00 | By
JSS teachers from Meru county stage demonstrations to push the government employ them on permanent and pensionable terms. PHOTO/Dorcas Mbatia
JSS teachers from Meru County stage demonstrations to push the government employ them on permanent and pensionable terms. PHOTO/Dorcas Mbatia

Junior Secondary School (JSS) intern teachers have vowed to boycott work until their grievances are addressed.

The teachers complain about heavy workloads with little pay, and they not only want to be employed on permanent and pensionable terms but also compensated for the period they have worked as interns.

The teachers are adamant that they should not be categorised as interns, arguing that they have completed their degree or diploma courses and are professionals.

They also insist that their employer, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), must obey a previous court decision that ruled the intern teacher position illegal.

But the TSC has said the judgment was stayed until August 2024, and urged teachers in its internship programme to obey the court order and go back to work.

Last year, the government said intern teachers must work for two years before they can be absorbed on permanent and pensionable terms. It also said they will be given priority in hiring after completing the two years.

But the teachers disagreed, saying that, initially, they were to work on contract for one year and expected to be hired on permanent and pensionable terms in January.

As this ping-pong continues, we need to consider the interests of JSS learners, who are at a critical point in the implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum.

Teachers will play a crucial role in shaping the career paths of JSS learners and everything should be placed on the table in order to get them back to class.

It is not lost on parents and their children that floods delayed for two weeks the reopening of schools for the second term.

Time is fast running out and thousands of learners should not sit in class without teachers. The stalemate should be resolved with the urgency it deserves before it morphs into a full-blown crisis.

JSS learners are expected to have their summative assessment next year at Grade 9 and this requires teachers. We also remind both parties that they have a duty to the nation and the learners, and the latter’s best interests should be the top consideration.

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