Kenyan Teachers demonstrating last Year
A series of issues building up in Kenya may lead to fresh teacher strikes
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) is threatening strike action from July if the government does not make good on a number of promises. The teachers have been promised a 300% pay rise according to agreements for various allowances which go back to 1997, when they were promised in order to end a teachers' strike. These include housing and medical allowances, allowances for teachers of children with special needs and allowances for headteachers. At present teachers in Kenya earn as little as $100 a month under conditions of steep inflation.
The government also needs to employ a further 40,000 permanent teachers in order to ease the teacher shortage - this was part of an agreement made at the end of a teacher strike over the use of temporary contracts
last year. School fees have been abolished in public schools in Kenya but the increased enrolment has been at the expense of teachers who are still often teaching classes of 100 or more. The government only spends $30 a year for each primary school child.
Meanwhile teachers are also having to cope with high stakes testing, leading to an outlay of money on tests, and education money also being lost through corruption as private publishers compete with one another to get lucrative contracts for testing materials. Privatisation of public schools is also gathering strength as public school teachers struggle to give children an education under often impossible conditions and with no funding for professional development.