KUPPET Wants KNEC to Sign MOU On KCSE Marking, Invigilation With Teachers
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) wants to formalize the engagement of its members with Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC).
KNEC engages teachers as invigilators, supervisors and examiners during national examinations.
According to KUPPET National Chairman Hon. Omboko Milemba,the recognition agreement will shield its members from unfair employment terms and poor working conditions.
According to Milemba, who is also the Emuhaya MP, part of its resolutions this year is the push for a recognition agreement.
KNEC, he stated, remains a heart break for its members who are engaged during the exercise and they will not watch as their members suffer.
“Worse still, KNEC always instructs our employer TSC to discipline our members without any further reference while it pays our teachers peanuts, which are also delayed,” regretted Milemba.
He warned that they will mobilise and urge their members to stop offering their services if the terms are not improved.
Teachers marking CRE Paper 1(313/1) in the 2022 KCSE at St.Francis Mang’u Girls High School downed their tools on January 10,2023 over poor remuneration and working conditions. Some of the teachers claimed they were being intimidated.
Teachers who spoke to Education News on condition of anonymity cited the use of abusive language by their leaders, opaqueness in promotion of team leaders, lack of regional balancing, and authoritarianism by the chief examiner.
Besides, they worked for long hours with no overtime, sleeping 4 or fewer hours as they started their day at 5 am and retired to bed after 10pm.
They also claimed to be receiving significantly lower payments (Ksh.55) as compared to their colleagues marking Kiswahili papers, who get Ksh.78 per paper.
However, KNEC maintained that the marking exercise went on smoothly in all the 35 centres with an exception of one.
It said some examiners who were marking CRE Paper I attempted to disrupt the exercise over “strict” marking regime imposed by the centre’s Chief Examiner.
In a press statement issued on January 10,2023, Council’s Chairman Prof.Julius Nyabundi said that upon consultations, the Council authorities agreed to replace the Chief Examiner as a compromise to ensure a smooth progress of the marking exercise.
“Unfortunately, despite responding to their initial demand, a few of the examiners yet again came up with a fresh call that the marking fee be revised upwards. Since the issue of the examiner’s marking fee is an individual contract, and agreed to before reporting to a centre, the Council found it impossible to find an extra budget to revise the rates midway,” said Prof.Nyabundi
He said the Council allowed those who wished to step down to do so peacefully and invited trained examiners from its database to ensure the smooth progress of the exercise.
In solidarity, Union Secretary General Akelo Misori stated that KNEC must urgently resolve examiners grievances, adding that KUPPET is disturbed by the Council’s festering failure to treat them with respect.
Misori regretted that strikes have become a trend during every national examination as examiners resort to protest before their grievances are addressed.
“Rather than address these long-festering challenges, KNEC has doubled down on the malpractices. This year, the Council is running an authoritarian work schedule where examiners work from 4.00 am to 10.00 pm,” he said.
The Union demands that the Council raises the pay for marking KCSE scripts to a minimum of Ksh100 per paper.
KUPPET Samburu Executive Secretary William Lengoyiap said that KNEC always meets their target and deadlines and TSC should ensure a good working environment for teachers in and out of class.
“There should be a clear road map immediately from exams administration, marking and other activities after marking. Teachers should not be used as cheap labour in any one activity,” said Lengoyiap.
His Vihiga counterpart Sabala Inyeni regretted that the KNEC can be allowed to abuse their members in the full glare of the government and their employer.
“Given the poor pay and working conditions, the quality of the results from this exercise has greatly been compromised,” he said.
KUPPET Busia Executive Secretary Moffats Okisai urged the national examination body to review its terms of service and further improve its fare reimbursement to teachers who travel for the marking exercise.
“Marking takes place during festive seasons and fares are automatically inflated and examiners must be airlifted,” he appealed.