Government urged to replace teachers who fled NE Kenya over insecurity

Residents of northeastern counties have decried the government’s failure to replace teachers who left their schools early this year.

They claim there is an education crisis in Wajir, Garissa and Mandera after teachers failed to report to various schools owing to insecurity.

The residents, through seven lobby groups, have filed an urgent application alleging the Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) have contravened their rights to access free, basic and compulsory education as set out in the Constitution.

The groups include the Haki na Sheria Initiative, the Pastoralist Girls Initiative, Womankind Kenya, Arid Lands Development Focus (Kenya), the Wajir South Development Association, Napad and Racida.

Mr Qamar Kassim Yusuf, a programme officer at the Haki na Sheria Initiative, said schools are resuming classes beginning Monday for the third term across the country except for the affected northeastern counties, which lack teachers.

Students in the affected counties are expected to sit their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams later in the year.

WORSENING SITUATION

“The actions and inactions of the Ministry of Education and TSC have immensely contributed to the worsening situation in the three counties and the matter has now graduated to being an education crisis,” said Mr Kassim.

He added that the failure by the ministry and the TSC to fulfil their legal and constitutional mandate had led to schools being closed down, students being sent home and learning coming to a stop in many schools in the three counties.

The residents want the government to, as soon as possible, set aside sufficient funds to recruit and deploy teachers in the affected areas.

They also want the government to put in place affirmative action programmes designed to ensure that minorities and marginalised groups are provided special opportunities in education.

The TSC yielded to pressure and transferred about 886 teachers who had refused to go back to northeastern Kenya alleging insecurity.

They were afraid to return after terrorists butchered more than 20 teachers in November 2014.

The affected teachers had filed a case at the Employment and Labour Relations Court seeking orders to compel the TSC to transfer them to safer areas.

The matter was later resolved out of court with TSC giving in to the demands.

They were transferred to Kitale, Mombasa, Lamu, Kilifi, and Turkana counties among other areas that had shortage of teachers.