There is a silent but agonizing cry by private school teachers across the nation. Since the abrupt closure of schools early March that was occasioned by the Coronavirus, private school teachers have been going without salaries.
This is despite the fact that these teachers already were living in rented houses, had bills to settle as well as meet their normal daily needs.You always reprimand teachers to demonstrate leadership in times of crisis in school. Please do so now.
The COVID-19 global Pandemic has exposed the underbelly of private school proprietors. Private school teachers are on indefinite unpaid leave. One can only imagine the damaging effects of this labour uncertainty.
What these teachers are going through is unfathomable. If no mitigation is quickly devised, the financial and psychological effects on these teachers will be irredeemable. The once cherished teachers are facing untold suffering as their employer sits pretty in houses built from sweats by their hard-working teachers. Teachers have tirelessly built for them legacy schools that used to mint money for them. Now, COVID-19 has grounded all schools.
The pandemic is re-writing the scripts of relationships between private school employees and employers. The script for private school teachers and the employers has now reached an anti-climax and hit rock bottom. It is irredeemably damaged. Nobody should use the pandemic to ignore the suffering of innocent teachers. I know something can be done.
The private sector is very lucrative. Many teachers long to work in the private sector. Private schools are envied by many but after this health crisis, teachers must go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate their contracts with their employers. Are there labour contracts tenable going forward?
Asking your employees to proceed on indefinite leave without caring to know how they would cope with their daily lives is cruelty on the part of school proprietors.
These teachers may not voice their concerns for fear of reprisals but pretending that private school teachers are okay after going for months without salaries is to be an insensitive employer. Some schools even with flowing bank accounts are taking advantage of the virus to deny teachers salaries.
In your many retreats and workshops including the annual Directors’ Luncheon held in Mombasa, the trainers repeatedly rub these nuggets into your ears: ‘ ‘how you treat your employees is instruction how they should treat your customers. That lessons seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
That directors of private schools can afford to conduct paid up zoom meetings to assess and analyze school re-opening scenarios while their teachers are hawking avocados in the estates is the height of insensitivity.
How unfeeling are these school owners? In the agenda for their Webinar virtual discussions are bank loans and the state of their parked school buses.
The plight of their teachers who toiled and moiled for them to be able to repay the bank loans every month does not feature in the zoom meetings that are punctuated with laughter and digital excitement or is it digital illiteracy?
I don’t know how these brazen directors will face the rage of their teachers when schools finally resume. If there was a time, these teachers needed their bosses to demonstrate love for what they do for them is now. Instead the proprietors have abandoned them. Sending letters of indefinite leave via social media is senseless. Pretending that you do not know your teachers are suffering is being a bad employer.
I have witnessed private school teachers engage in all manner of strange jobs to cope up with the situation. The dignity of these teachers has been exposed to their own pupils who are witnessing the weird business their teachers are doing. The respect with which these learners hold their teachers is getting eroded because their employer has decided to abandon them. I see some blatant directors hop from one TV station to another discussing how 109 private schools have closed down. So what? All what matters to them is their schools.
Private schools that are poorly run ought to close down. That is the basic principle of business management not just schools. Instead of feeling for their teachers who have families to feed and bills to pay, directors are lamenting that schools will close down. Let them close so they can learn.
Private school teachers need to form a union very fast so they can face their employer with the muscle of the union. To continue denying private school teachers salaries while their counterparts employed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) are getting their salaries is to have two sets of rules for the country.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha is on record saying all the Kenyan learners belong to the same government whether they study in private or public. There is no private or public child. Correct. Clear. Are there private and public teachers yet they studied in the same colleges?
Why should private school teachers suffer for a fault that is not their making?
The moribund Kenya Private Schools Association is clueless. Even after being privileged to sit in the National Education COVID-19 Committee that advised the president on school re-opening squandered the opportunity to represent these suffering teachers. Nobody seems to understand their plight yet when schools re-open they will be expected to deliver.