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KUPPET-KNUT Rivalry Intensifies as TSC Transfers Junior Secondary Teachers

The rivalry between Kenya Union of Post-Primary Teachers (Kuppet) and Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) is intensifying as the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) embarks on a process of transferring teachers from primary to secondary schools (see list) ahead of CBC Grade Seven rollout next year.

Kuppet, which is the representative of teachers in post-primary institutions, confirmed plans to recruit the transferred teachers immediately since they will now be in post primary institutions, a move which has not been received in kind by KNUT.

Though the teachers are members of Knut, law says they should join Kuppet since they will be teaching in secondary schools.

According to Kuppet secretary-general Akelo Misori, Knut signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with TSC that they will only represent teachers in primary schools and therefore cannot claim to represent the transferred teachers.

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“They are the ones who signed that they represent only teachers in primary schools and once they transition to secondary, they should join Kuppet,” Claimed Misori.

Misori said the union has an open-door policy with all teachers in post-primary institutions.

“If they choose to be members of Knut, that will be a conflict of the Knut-TSC MoA signed last year,” he said.

TSC has so far transferred more than 1,000 teachers who are degree holders from primary to secondary schools and more are c set to be redeployed ahead of the junior secondary roll out.

On his part, Knut secretary-general Collins Oyuu says that even though they signed the demarcation memorandum with the TSC last year when they came into office, the law is superior to the agreement.

He said Knut will represent all teachers regardless of whether they are in primary or secondary schools.

“A memorandum cannot be superior to the law. Visit the Labour ministry and they will tell you how membership in a trade union is acquired,” said Mr Oyuu.

He said the recognition agreement they signed with TSC has a clause that says they can call for review.

Currently, Kuppet has a membership of over 100,000 teachers against Knut’s over 115,000. Knut is yet to fully hit the187,000 membership it had before the June 2019 conflict with TSC started.

Misori noted if teachers are deployed to secondary schools, Knut should stop following them.

Misori further advised Knut to amend their signed memorandum with the TSC if they want to represent teachers in secondary schools.

Additionally, Misori noted that Knut must understand that when Kuppet came on board and together with other unions, their jurisdiction is now limited.

With junior secondary facing serious challenges among them lack of enough infrastructure, Knut has been calling for Grade Seven, Eight and Grade Nine to be domiciled in primary schools citing enough classrooms.

Oyuu yesterday cited the tender age of the Grade Seven learners as a factor that should be considered.

He said Knut had conducted surveys and teachers and some education officials agree that junior secondary should be domiciled in primary schools.

“Apart from the fact that we will have infrastructure wastage, look at the age of these children, at 10 one is in secondary school. We want to make sure that parents are not over-stressed because they have to pay more for what is in secondary schools,” he said.

He said the call for Knut to have junior secondary domiciled in primary schools has nothing to do with the union’s membership.

However, Misori said the age of the students is not a factor, as they will be studying a secondary school curriculum. He noted that in UK, students get to university at 17 years.

“Whether the location of where learning will be in primary schools, does not change the content as they will be taught by secondary school teachers,” he said.

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