KNUT strike: TSC now plans to hire thousands of teachers to handle crisis

KNUT strike: TSC now plans to hire thousands of teachers to handle crisis

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is now planning to hire thousands of teachers on a temporary basis should the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) mobilise its members to a nationwide strike when schools reopen on Thursday.

Citizen TV has learnt that TSC is targeting more than 290,000 unemployed teachers to fill the void should teachers stay away from classes.

TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia has directed the Directorate of Quality Assurance to review the data of over 290,000 unemployed teachers that are registered with the commission, for their urgent deployment and employment on a temporary basis should teachers go on strike next week.

The directorate is required to retrieve full names of such teachers, the phone numbers and email addresses as well as the level of training.

TSC officials must also retrieve details of the number of years since graduation of the said teachers, their current county and sub-county of residence and the nearest public school for the unemployed teachers.

The TSC staff are also required to ensure that the teachers can be contacted on short notice through a bulk SMS facility for assignment of duty. It is understood that this is aimed at saving time to mitigate the effects of the teachers strike should it take effect next Thursday.

CEO Macharia says that the data will be “utilized from time to time for various temporary and or permanent commission assignments.”

Even with the contingency plan by TSC, the KNUT has sent out a circular to all its branches directing that no teacher should report for the new school term until the strike is called off formally by the union’s leadership.

KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion in his letter emphasizing that the industrial action can only be stopped by resolution of four key issues; promotion of teachers, contentious transfers of head teachers and performance contracting policy by TSC.

KNUT is also opposed to the Teachers professional development modules partly managed via an online portal to appraise teachers regularly.

On Saturday, KNUT pulled out of conciliatory efforts steered by the Labour Ministry, even as the conciliation team moves to meet with TSC on Monday.

Should KNUT strike take effect, then learning in public primary schools risk failing to kick off in the new term. Secondary schools may not be affected yet, with the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) set to meet on Wednesday to take a position on the dispute.

Back in 2015, TSC had set off to hire 70,000 reliever teachers following a month’s strike in September that year. The strike ended before conclusion of the hiring exercise.