The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has raised concerns over the treatment of its members during the invigilation, supervision, and marking of national examinations, and is considering a boycott.
As the national examinations are set to begin at the end of the month, KUPPET’s national officers have expressed dissatisfaction with the inadequate and unsafe working conditions, as well as the delayed and insufficient payment of salaries in the past.
KUPPET is calling for negotiations with the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) to address these issues before their members agree to participate in the examination process. The demand was emphasized during an annual general meeting of the KUPPET branch held in Mosocho, Kisii County.
Moses Nthurima, the National Deputy Secretary General of KUPPET, emphasized that there is currently no formal agreement with KNEC regarding the appointment and utilization of KUPPET members in invigilating and marking national examinations. He highlighted the disparity in pay for teachers, citing examples where security personnel receive prompt payment while teachers face delays of up to seven months.
Furthermore, Nthurima urged KNEC to engage with the union to rectify this issue, which he described as a form of discrimination. He also pointed out that the compensation for marking papers is often less than Sh100 per paper, varying depending on the subject.
Nthurima likened the conditions at exam marking centers to concentration camps, where teachers are prohibited from having communication devices like mobile phones, infringing on their constitutional right to information.
KUPPET has expressed concern about markers being housed in unhygienic student dormitories, facing issues such as bedbugs, which pose health risks. The union has urged teachers not to report to the centers until KNEC addresses their concerns.
Julius Korir, KUPPET’s national vice-president, echoed the call for increased compensation for supervision, invigilation, and marking, urging members not to compromise the union’s position by participating under unsatisfactory conditions.
Addressing the Ministry of Education’s potential takeover of certain Teachers Service Commission (TSC) functions, KUPPET stressed the importance of an independent commission, a cause the union has actively advocated for. Edward Obwocha, KUPPET National Secretary for Secondary Education, urged members to collaborate with leadership in negotiations with the government.
One of the key concerns raised by KUPPET is the significant pay gap between teachers working in the same environment. They are advocating for a reduction of this gap to the internationally accepted standard of no more than 25 percent.
The union has recommended a salary increase ranging from 30 to 70 percent in a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for 2021, which has yet to be implemented despite the formation of a technical committee to address the matter.
Additionally, KUPPET is calling on the government to provide training and equip teachers in conflict-prone areas with the necessary tools, such as guns, to ensure the delivery of quality education.
The union is also addressing concerns regarding the deployment of junior school teachers to primary schools, emphasizing the need for proper job descriptions and fair treatment for educators. The Siaya County branch of KUPPET highlighted cases where junior school teachers are being compelled to teach primary classes, despite it not being within their job description.
Following TSC teacher recruitment, junior schools have received limited resources to cover a wide range of subjects, creating challenges for newly hired interns posted in deprived areas. They receive a stipend of Sh20,000 per month, but some are struggling to adapt to their new environments.