Kenya Teachers Return to the Classroom, After Strike Suspension
Kenyan teachers have returned to work after a five-week strike was suspended by the courts.
Teachers unions agreed to comply with the suspension, which will give them 90 days to negotiate terms of pay with the government. While pupils and families will be hopeful this marks the end of empty classrooms, after five weeks of disruption.
The strike suspension sees classes resume for millions of students – many of whom will be sitting state exams later this month. Pupils had been allowed to go to school during the strike, but no teaching has taken place for over a month, leaving much of the responsibility on the shoulders of students and their families.
“I think we are going to excel because most of us were studying alone at home and some of us were coming at school to study. So I do not think that we have lost much, despite the teachers being away,” once student said.
The suspension brings an end to strikes for 90 days, but a long-term solution still seems a distant prospect. The government maintains it cannot afford to pay the 50-60 percent pay rise courts had previously ordered and numerous experts maintain the money simply isn’t there.
Teacher wages have become a major talking point in Kenya, where the country’s education system is falling behind other areas of development in the nation. Teachers in Kenya are already amongst the best paid in Africa, but some feel they deserve to earn more money for the role they play in society.
“Yeah, they should make more money because they are the ones who make everyone in the society, the politicians, the engineers. So, they should earn more than the politicians because they pass through their hands,” a pupil told news sources.