The National Assembly Majority Leader, Aden Duale, has received massive criticism from teachers following his proposal that responsibility for primary and secondary education be devolved under county governments in order to avert the recurrent teachers’ strikes.
“We can’t have teachers striking every year over salaries. There is need to devolve primary and secondary school education so that the counties can manage it. What the national government will be tasked with is making policies,” Duale said while speaking during a launch of a Social Security Fund programme in his Garissa constituency on Saturday.
UNCALLED FOR AND UNPRODUCTIVE
According to teachers, the Constitution regards education as a function of the central government hence the debate to devolve it is uncalled for, they also argue that devolving education will be unproductive and will prove a bigger challenge as its currently being witnessed with the devolved health sector.
“This is not the time to start discussing devolution of education unless someone has a motive to water down the sector like it has been witnessed in other sectors, which were devolved without proper vision,” said Zablon Awange, Chairman Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (KUPPET) Kisumu Branch.
Currently it’s only the early childhood education that is managed by counties.
DEVOLUTION WILL NOT END TEACHER STRIKES
While condemning Duale’s remarks, the KUPPET Secretary General Akello Misori said Duale’s proposal to devolve education is informed by the exodus of teachers in the North Eastern region due to insecurity.
“We want to tell him that devolving education will not stop strikes. Higher pay demands and strikes will also be devolved as long as the welfare of teachers is neglected,” Misori said.
Misori also cautioned that devolving education would water down the quality of education.
“If you devolve education, there would be many education systems in the country as counties will be free to introduce various systems that will lead to confusion,” he said.
STRIKE ENTERS SECOND WEEK
The teachers’ strike began on January 5 and yesterday entered its second week. The teachers unions are expected to appear before the Industrial Court on Wednesday. On Friday, the court resisted attempts to declare the strike illegal and instead summoned the two unions – KUPPET and Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) – to appear before it.