It is time MoE, TSC redefined the meaning of hardship allowance

TSC
From left: TSC CEO Dr. Nancy Macharia, Prime CS Musalia Mudavadi, TSC Chairman Jamleck Muturi and Education CS Ezekiel Machogu display the Strategic Plan during its launch in July, 2023.

There was the phrase ‘Vindu vichenjanga’ that literally meant things are changing. The phrase cum slogan spread like wildfire 3-4 years ago and for sure acted as a stark reminder to those who were not aware that indeed the world was fast moving and situations had changed.

According to TSC (2014),  hardship area is a region within Kenya that face exceptional difficulty in terms of infrastructure, accessibility and living conditions. Ministry of Education (MoE) on its part defines it relatively the same.

Basing on the above definition, a number of areas in Kenya have been gazetted as hardship areas and teachers as well as MoE workers are paid hardship allowance that is pegged on their job groups.

However, there has been a continuous review of the hardship areas after it is believed that the ‘hardship’ has been contained. This after it is noted that the vagaries causing the hardships have been improved through devolution and National Government intervention.

Vagaries of weather are hard to be improved leave alone to be navigating through some areas in this country that are not gazetted as hardship areas, will make a conscious mind see the compelling need why both TSC and MoE should redefine the meaning of an hardship area.

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A good example are schools located in Kipkorom,Timobo, Sirwa and Serengonik in Nandi East Sub-county, schools in Bunyala north and Teso North sub counties in Busia County. Teachers and officers posted to these areas from outside and many other of the same conditions, grapple with extreme weather conditions. Many of them are compelled to become health facilities customers if they are to effectively attend their duties.

In my view, hardship allowance should be extended to teachers and officers working in marginalised and seemingly hard. If, for instance I come from Bondo and posted to Kipkorom (a very cold place), I indeed deserve hardship allowance because my health will always be subjected to pneumonia and respiratory tract infections. There is, therefore an urgent need for both the TSC and MoE to think of redefining and expanding the meaning of hardship allowance.

Mr Joseph Kiptoo is an Educationist from Sirwa Nandi County.

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