Education

TSC begins sacking JSS intern teachers over strike

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In various letters seen by The Eastleigh Voice, the TSC argues that the teachers failed to report to duty and engaged in professional misconduct.

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has begun issuing termination letters to junior secondary school intern teachers following their engagement in a three-week strike.

In various letters seen by The Eastleigh Voice, the TSC explains that the teachers failed to report to duty and engaged in professional misconduct.

The commission's move comes two days after the teachers called off the strike to allow the national budget to be passed on Thursday.

“Reference is made to the show cause letter dated May 22, 2024, in which you were accorded an opportunity to explain the reasons why your engagement as an intern should not be terminated on account of professional misconduct. The commission has carefully considered your response and found the same to be unsatisfactory," the TSC says in its letter dated June 10.

"In view of the above, the commission has decided to terminate your internship engagement with effect from June 6, 2024, on the grounds that you engaged in acts of professional misconduct, in that you deserted duty with effect from May 13, 2024, while engaged as an intern teacher."

A similar message was conveyed in a June 6, 2024, letter.

In May, the TSC issued show-cause letters to 7,357 teachers about the controversial internship programme. However, the number of those said to be sacked is unknown.

The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) had agreed with the commission on the withdrawal of all the show-cause letters which had been sent to the teachers.

Kuppet Secretary General Akelo Misori had urged the teachers to return to class following the facilitation of a return-to-work formula.

"The union and the commission have agreed that all show-cause letters and notices to exit, earlier issued to the teachers, will be withdrawn and normalcy returned to the JSS institutions no later than Monday, June 3, 2024," Misori said.

Despite this, the teachers refused to return to work, claiming they were not engaged in the negotiations. They said that all 46,000 interns should be employed on permanent and pensionable terms.

On Saturday, however, the intern teachers called off the strike following productive negotiations with the National Assembly’s Labour and Education committee, resulting in the approval of some key demands and their presentation to the budget committee.

The teachers expressed optimism that parliament's engagement with the TSC will ensure their demands are met.

JSS National Spokesperson Bonface Omari said the TSC should release the circular about their confirmation of permanent and pensionable terms immediately after the budget is passed.

“After a meeting of JSS County leaders, we resolved to suspend our demonstrations to pave the way for parliament to pass the 2024–2025 budget on Thursday," Omari said.

"Please note that this means the strike that began on April 17, 2024, has not been called off but suspended until July 5, 2024. By that date, we should have gotten communication on the status of the confirmation of the 46,000 teachers."

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