KUPPET in Shock Over Court Ruling on Teachers Under Internship

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The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has expressed concerns regarding the fate of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) following a court ruling that prohibits the employment of teachers on an internship basis.

While appreciating the court’s decision, KUPPET officials highlighted that the Junior Secondary School (JSS) faces uncertainty as this ruling could potentially leave learners without teachers.

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The union has urged the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) not to appeal the judgment from the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC), but rather to convert the contracts of interns into permanent and pensionable terms.

Speaking at the KUPPET headquarters in Nairobi on Thursday, Secretary-General Akelo Misori stated, “We urge the TSC not to appeal the judgment but to collaborate with Kuppet and other stakeholders to devise legal and equitable methods to address the shortage of teaching staff.”

A primary school teacher with her students in class’ Image/File

Justice Bryrum Ongaya, in his ruling on Wednesday, stated that the TSC violated the interns’ right to fair labor practices, noting that they are qualified and hold teaching licenses.

“The respondents have not exhibited statutory regulatory or policy arrangements that would entitle the first respondent (TSC) to employ interns. Ideally, the first respondent should employ registered teachers upon terms that are not discriminatory and to meet the optimal staffing needs in public schools,” Justice Ongaya ruled.

Misori accused the TSC of bias and dereliction of its duties as an independent state agency.

“When interns were engaged in this casual manner, it reflects poorly on the TSC’s independence, veering off its mandated course,” he remarked.

He challenged the commission to collaborate with the Legislature to secure additional funding to resolve the impending crisis in the education sector.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) also praised the court ruling as a significant victory for intern teachers.

“The issue of interns has been a thorn in the flesh much as it was a stop-gap measure, which we actually support, it is prudent that these teachers become permanent and pensionable especially those who have proceeded for a whole year on internship,” said Knut Secretary-General Collins Oyuu.

However, the National Parents Association (NPA) has expressed reservations about the ruling.

NPA chairman Silas Obuhatsa stated that parents endorse the president’s initial directive to extend the contracts of intern teachers for another year.

“For now, we reserve our comments. Our stance remains aligned with the President’s directive, as TSC may opt to appeal the court ruling. We will adhere to the President’s decision,” Obuhatsa stated.

He expressed confidence that learning activities would continue uninterrupted as TSC has not withdrawn intern teachers from schools.

Meanwhile, intern teachers under the TSC payroll announced on Wednesday their intention to pursue legal action to compel the employer to pay them arrears for the duration of their service.

During a press briefing in Nairobi, intern teachers, led by spokesperson Boniface Omari, criticized the commission for failing to remunerate them for the 15 months they have worked.

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