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Junior Secondary School JSS Teachers Strike for Higher Pay

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Hundreds of intern Junior Secondary School (JSS) teachers conducted strikes and walkouts in more than five counties Monday in protest of low wages amid contentious contract talks with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

Their notoriously low pay, they say, is a driving factor behind the strike that shut down learning in Machakos, Makueni, Meru, Narok, Nyamira, Nyeri, and Tharaka Nithi Counties as students resume school for their second-term studies.

“We must be compensated, and we must be confirmed today, tomorrow and in days to come,” said Gikundi Karuti, one of the teachers from Meru, who hoped that the campaign for higher pay would gather pace countrywide.

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The demonstrations put a spotlight on the paltry pay of JSS teachers who serve as the backbone of the basic education system in Kenya, which is at a crucial transition point from the 8-4-4 system to CBC, the Competency-Based Curriculum.

Dauphine Adhiambo, a JSS teacher from Narok, said their Ksh17,000 monthly salary is not enough to live on, which is why they are demanding better wages.

“Some of us teach far from our homes, where we need to rent a house and buy food. In addition, we have families to take care of with the meagre income. This makes our life very miserable,” said Ms Adhiambo.

The JSS interns also want TSC to employ them on a permanent and pensionable basis as qualified tutors after working in internship positions for more than a year now.

In the past, their fight for permanent employment failed to result in a favourable term after the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) ruled that the Teachers Service Commission did not have enough money and that they should go back to class:

“The commission has no financial resources to facilitate compliance with the judgement, specifically, to convert the 46,000 interns to permanent and pensionable terms of service, as the national assembly did not appropriate the same in the current financial year,” read court papers.

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JUSTUS KIPRONOhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Justus Kiprono is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. He tracks Capital Markets and economic trends, infrastructure reform, government spending, and the financial impacts of state decision-making nationwide. You can reach him: [email protected]
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