The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has resolved a dispute regarding the affiliation of teachers’ union responsible for junior secondary schools (JSS). It has been determined that JSS teachers will now be part of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT).
Similar to primary school teachers, JSS teachers will contribute 2% of their basic salary as monthly union dues to support the union’s activities.
While a significant number of those teachers have already received their salaries, only a few P1 teachers who were assigned to teach Grade 7 have been paid.
There was a disagreement between the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) and KNUT regarding the membership of JSS teachers.
KUPPET advocated for JSS to be housed within secondary schools, while Knut preferred it to be under the primary school umbrella.
However, based on the recommendations of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reform, the Ministry decided to place JSS within primary schools due to factors such as the learners’ age, resource availability, and cultural considerations.
The two unions recently reignited the debate on JSS, prompting questions about the nature of the disagreement. KUPPET primarily represents secondary school teachers, while KNUT predominantly represents primary school teachers. Nevertheless, teachers have the freedom to choose which union to join, regardless of the institutions they work for.
With the introduction of JSS, the TSC recruited 30,000 teachers, assigning one to each JSS in public institutions.
This may have contributed to the differences between the two unions, as teachers pay a monthly subscription fee to their respective unions.
The subscription fee is deducted from their salaries by the TSC and then transferred to the unions. As per Knut’s constitution, the maximum monthly deduction should not exceed Sh1,200.
Knut Secretary General Collins Oyuu highlighted the urgent challenges faced by JSS and stated that recruiting new members was currently not an issue.
He reflected on the decline in membership from over 180,000 to approximately 11,000 between 2018 and 2021.
KUPPET National Chairman Milemba Omboko emphasized that the issue of placing JSS in secondary schools goes beyond political motivations and dismissed the idea that the union was competing for members.
He explained that the union’s aim to domicile JSS in secondary schools was driven by the need for qualified teachers, particularly in subjects such as sciences, which are crucial for students’ academic paths.