Knut rejects return of caning in schools
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has opposed the proposal by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, to have corporal punishment re-introduced in schools as a way of dealing with the rise in indiscipline among learners.
Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion said the proposal will be met with huge resistance and in the process, pit a conflict between learners and teachers.
He argues that if canning is re-introduced, the government should post police officers to conduct that exercise.
Sossion said Knut would not allow teachers’ lives to be taken for granted, adding that police officers should have a special office to do the caning.
“With the recent wave of attacks by learners on teachers, we cannot rule anything out even death, among our members and that is what we do not want,” said Sossion.
Sossion who addressed journalists at Afraha High School in Nakuru, after elections of union officials from 11 counties, noted that for caning to be brought back, there has to be an amendment on the Children’s Act.
At the same time, he wants the government to do away with boarding schools completely saying, it is the surest way to tame cases of impunity in schools. He noted that parents would also have ample time to be with their children and monitor their behaviour.
“Covid-19 has taught us a lot of things; it is now clear that parents have left their children and that is why we are having problems when they come back to school,” he added.
On Knut wrangles with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Sossion said he had communicated to the government that anti-labour actions are not desired, insisting that fighting strong unions is not the solution to achieving labour relations.
He called on the President to save teachers from the jaws of the TSC.
“It is wrong for the government to listen to TSC in its agenda of anti-union actions, the international bodies have communicated to the President to intervene on the matter,” said Sossion.
Sossion noted that there were many issues pending including the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement without discrimination. He wants TSC to comply with court judgements.
Echoing Sossion’s sentiments, the union’s assistant secretary general Gicheru Gitau said TSC has been making deliberate efforts to bring the union down.
Speaking in Murang’a yesterday, Gitau said TSC was on a mission to dismantle the union, a move he said would leave teachers exposed to the wrath of the commission.
He claimed that the commission has been illegally transferring teachers’ records from Knut to Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers as well as creating other unions.
“The teachers did not move out of the union willingly; they were forced and some have been left without a membership to any union” he said.
Gitau said the commission had created a narrative that it was fighting the union because Sossion refused to vacate after being nominated to Parliament.
“Whatever is going on has nothing to do with Sossion but it’s a plan to put us under siege, but we are going to weather this storm as a team,” he said.
On his part, Rift Valley Secretary Elly Korinko vowed to rally members to oppose the Building Bridges Initiative citing frustration by the government on resolving wrangles between the union and TSC.
He said TSC has disregarded the rule of law and use intimidation to frustrate teachers who are Knut members.
The union’s second vice chairman Rosalia Mkanjala said the teachers should not run away from the giant union.
“’You can’t run away from your home because your parents are undergoing some problems’’ said Mkanjala.
Speaking in Bungoma County during the branch elections, she admitted that they were operating without any funds. —Report by Roy Lumbe, Wangari Njuguna, Christine Musa and Yusuf Masibo