Teachers Rise Up, Paid Up
At the verge of schools re-opening and the teachers threatened to strike again. However the Supreme Court ruled in the favour of the lower court’s decision to give the teachers up to 60% pay rise.
This means 14Billion Shillings for the Government to make up for. With the recent anniversary of our constitution, Kenya has changed much since and now we are talking about National and County Governments. Should we have the system where each county must take care of its own bills? According to the Business Daily “The 280,000 teachers currently account for 38 per cent of Kenya’s Sh418 billion public wage bill. A 60 per cent pay increment means a teacher in P1 job group G, the lowest paid category, will take home Sh26,707 up from Sh16,692 beginning next month. The best paid teacher, a chief principal in job group R, will now earn Sh163,634, up from Sh109,089.”
Whereas a Private school teacher earns easily what the principal of a Public school does.
While the Government may not have that kind of money to pay overnight as requested by the teachers, the Government should look at reducing the costs of living in the country. Kenyans are pro-education, so why not tap into this demand and make the most? Give the citizens a chance to show off their skills, become innovators, CEOs and so much more for the country and let it rise itself. We will have more lawyers, doctors, specialists and who knows, the next President. Human resource is the most valuable and while most developed countries have learnt well how to tap it, Africa lags behind because of power hungry politicians and greedy industrialists. But things are changing in Kenya and teachers are essential to our future. Teachers should be able to draft out their future. Surely they can see what is lying ahead of them long term and make recommendations according to that. Increasing their salaries will not end their problems. Come another 2 years and they will want another increment, should the increment not be automatic or performance based? I am not saying teachers should be held accountable and churn out robots, but still their performance must be measured. There is no doubt of their commitment and a teacher is the most important person in a child’s life after the parents so their work must be accounted for too.
Education is a basic human right and for a country it should be on the national agenda. Dividing the system per county to decide how much to pay will only create a deeper crack in years to come. You don’t want to start segregating the society from the levels of literacy. Don’t forget that illetracy has caused wars, hunger and so many other destructive human habits. When you are going to leave it per county to choose their payment system, there is bound to be discrimination, just like a corporation who pays per resource. How would you justify a school teacher in Mandera getting paid about 30K for 12 pupils to a teacher in Nakuru getting paid 20K for 30 pupils.
Since 1997 the teachers have been fighting for better pay. Since 1997 Kenya has more than doubled its schools, universities, colleges and learning institutions. Most are partly privately controlled, so does that mean a private partnership will help give teachers are fair package? A county government at this point is too young to determine this situation but perhaps it can become a future goal and drive them to encourage investors such that there is ready employment for the thousands of students who finish their education in these private-public institutions.