Kakamega ECDE teachers to go without pay as Covid-19 bites

Monday, April 27th, 2020 00:00 |
Kakamega first lady Priscillah Oparanya talking to ECDE pupils at Hirumbi Primary School. Photo/PD/COURTESY

About 1,900 Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teachers in Kakamega county will do without pay for an indefinite period after the ravages of the Corona virus disease in the country impeded the process of contract renewal that would have guaranteed the wages.

Aggrieved ECDE assistants say their accounts were yet to be credited with March 2020 salary, more than three weeks into April.

This could cumulatively cost the county government Sh.19 million in salary arrears. 

Last week, it emerged that the 1901 teachers were struck off the payroll after the county government failed to conclude the process of contract renewal before the contracts expired in February.

The county government pays an ECDE certificate holder Sh8,000 as monthly salary. Diploma holders earn Sh10,000 while degree holders get Sh12,000 per month.

Other employees of the county government received their March salaries last month, according to an earlier announcement by governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

County secretary Jacinta Odhiambo denied knowledge of non-payment of the salaries. 

“I’m not aware of the issue, that’s not true,” she said and hang up when asked why the ECDE tutors had not been paid.

However, the county Executive Committee member in charge of Education Joseph Indire confirmed the teachers had not been paid their March salaries.

“The affected staffs were legally not recognised on the payroll after the expiry of their one-year contracts in March,” he said. 

He denied reports that the county refused to pay because they never worked during the month of March when the local government declared a partial shutdown on some of its departments including education and ordered workers to stay at home.

Indire blamed te pandemic and unresolved employer/employee contractual issues for the delay in processing the teachers’ dues.

“We were in the process of renewing the contracts when the virus struck and impeded that exercise,” he said.

ECDE teachers, unlike other workers are employed on a one-year contract that is renewable.

“My office has sought an increase the contract term to three years, which were approved by the cabinet, but that also got stuck at implementation due the partial shut down,” he said. 

The public service and administration department has also raised issues about existence of some teachers with fake contracts.

They insisted on scrutinising all documents afresh to weed out conmen before the contracts could be renewed.  

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