Provide flight tickets to ASAL area teachers, Kindiki to TSC
The Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Interior and National Administration Prof. Kithure Kindiki has suggested to the Teachers Service Commission to give teachers who are non-locals working in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands like North Rift region flight tickets to avoid attack by terrorist while travelling to and from their work stations.
Appearing before the National Assembly Education Committee which is chaired by Tinderet MP Julius Melly today August 2, 2023 where he outlined measures that TSC can follow in protecting teachers in ASAL areas; Prof. Kindiki stated that the flight tickets can be issued during opening and closing of schools, a time when teachers travel to and from their work stations.
According to the CS, the al-Shabaab terrorists usually target to attack teachers on road, when schools are opened and closed, adding that the move to issue flight tickets will enhance the safety of teachers.
“TSC should consider paying flight ticket for the teachers in Mandera County since road transport poses greater risk. History has shown that teachers are attacked while traveling. The distance from Mandera to Nairobi is around 1,100km long and risky,” said Kindiki.
He further proposed to TSC to shorten service period for non-local teachers in the areas adding that placing teachers in the areas for too long affects their mental health as the attacks keep on taking place.
“We recommend TSC not to keep non-local teachers that serve in the area for too long because it contributes to their mental stress and even the risk of them getting absorbed and being recruited into some of these networks,” he said.
According to Code of Regulations for Teachers (CORT) 2015, a teacher on first appointment may not be considered for transfer until the teacher has served in a station for a period of not less than five years except under medical grounds, as certified by a registered medical practitioner; or other compelling circumstances as shall be determined by the Commission.
Kindiki also urged TSC to collaborate with security agencies when deploying non-local teachers to hot spot areas and to further aim at posting local teachers in vulnerable areas while non-local teachers in relatively safe areas.
He also urged the National and County governments to consider giving full scholarships to students from Northern Kenya taking teaching courses, so that they can take up teaching positions in their own areas.
The CS further called on TSC to fully invest and implement the online classes in schools in the North Rift to prevent movement of teachers in the area, adding that online classes reduce teachers being targets to the terrorists.
“Invest in technology where virtual learning can reduce the need of physical movement of teachers from one place to another. In future, there is a need to step-up virtual learning in North Eastern Region by establishing satellite schools,” he said.
His recommendations come a time when TSC Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Nancy Macharia in early July this year when she appeared before the Committee revealed that trained unemployed teachers in North Eastern counties have been avoiding teaching vacancies in the area.
According to Dr. Macharia the Commission advertised 36,000 vacancies in December 2022 and recruited 35,790; with 210 vacancies for intern teachers having not been filled in Mandera (174), Wajir (29) and Garissa (7) counties because no applications were submitted.
Dr. Macharia said teachers are reluctant to take up internship posts in some areas due to insecurity and unfavourable working conditions.
The North Eastern region which for years has borne the brunt of terror attacks where a number of teachers have lost their lives.
The Kenya Teachers in Hardship Areas Welfare Association (KETHAWA) has now threatened to sue the government for neglecting North eastern teachers, with the Association National Secretary Wangonya Wangenye telling teachers working in those areas not to report to work when they feel their security is compromised.
“We are alarmed by the current wave of insecurity in North Eastern region. In fact, the Governor of Mandera confessed that over 60 per cent of the county is controlled by al-shabaab,” Wangenye told Education News in an interview today.
According to Wangenye, the situation puts the welfare of teachers at high risk, requesting all the 5, 319 teachers in the North Eastern region who include Garissa 1548 teachers, Mandera 1961teachers and Wajir 1810 teachers to remain highly vigilant of their personal security.
“We also urge them not to report to work where they feel their security is compromised. Further they should report their security threats to the nearest police station and forward the OB number of the same to us, so as to file a case in court compelling the government to either provide enough security or compensate all teachers working in this areas,” he added.
By Roy Hezron
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