The Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms proposed a plan that will demote primary school heads without degrees starting from January next year, a move opposed by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT).
During the KNUT coast council regional meeting held at Ronald Ngala Primary School in Mvita, Mombasa, KNUT Secretary General (SG) Collins Oyuu described the proposal as unfair and criticized it as the worst labor practice the country could impose on teachers.
“We are prepared and ready to take necessary action to ensure our teachers remain in their comfortable positions. In fact, some of these heads you are referring to are among the best in their field. Administration is a fundamental aspect of our education, and we all received training in basic administration and excelled,” Oyuu stated.
While KNUT fully supported the radical changes and reforms in the education sector proposed by the working party, Oyuu mentioned that they had reservations about several proposals.
He emphasized the Union’s commitment to supporting primary school heads without degrees and stated that they would present proposals to the working party, requesting that these heads be allowed to pursue university education while retaining their positions.
Oyuu pointed out that 90 percent of primary school heads were graduates, dismissing any doubts about their qualifications.
He insisted that any head without a degree should pursue higher education to obtain the necessary qualification.
One of the proposals from the working party suggested that head teachers currently leading primary schools hosting Junior Secondary School (JSS) would continue heading these schools until December 30, 2023, during the implementation of the new Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).
Over 23,000 primary schools approved by the Ministry of Education are authorized to host JSS, some of which are managed by non-graduate school heads.
The proposal recommended the establishment of comprehensive schools, where pre-primary schools, primary schools, and JSS would operate under a single head teacher in the same compound.
Head teachers without the required qualification would be assigned reduced administrative roles.
The KNUT SG welcomed the idea of comprehensive schools, as it would address the issues of primary, junior secondary, and senior secondary schools being separate entities.
This approach would ensure that children start their education from Early Childhood Development (ECD) up to grade 12 in the same school, overseen by a single head teacher.
“We have encountered numerous gaps that should have been addressed earlier, especially regarding the implementation of JSS. Grade 7 students have transitioned to JSS, but where are the teachers?” Oyuu questioned.
He emphasized that while KNUT supported the idea of incorporating JSS into primary schools, they believed that the concept of comprehensive schools needed to be further explored.
Oyuu further urged the Commission to hire teachers with TSC numbers who are currently being recruited by counties.
“It is illogical for individuals to hold TSC numbers but be employed by counties. TSC should now take the responsibility of employing these teachers to ensure consistency in quality assurance and their work in our schools,” stated Oyuu.