More than fifty primary school teachers from Tharaka Nithi County have been camping outside the county Teachers Service Commission (TSC) office in Chuka town for a fortnight now demanding transfers to their home counties.
The teachers, who hail from Tharaka North, Tharaka South and Chiakariga sub-counties and currently teaching in Embu, Meru and Kitui counties, started camping outside the TSC office since May 10 and at times sleep at the venue while keeping vigil.
Following the abolishment of the delocalization policy, they applied to be transferred to their home sub-counties but unfortunately, after presenting their transfer letters to the office, they were informed that the only available vacancies were in Igambang’ombe, Maara and Chuka sub-counties.
They vowed to stay put at the county TSC office until their demands are met, culminating to protests that led to temporary closure of the office recently.
Addressing the media, the teachers alleged that teachers from other counties had used corruption to be transferred to the hardship areas disadvantaging the locals who are supposed to benefit.
A teacher, who has been working in Kitui County, said there are many schools with as little as four teachers in Tharaka North, Tharaka South and Chiakariga sub-counties and that their bosses are transferring their friends there to take advantage of the hardship allowance.
“We applied to be transferred to schools near our homes for various reasons and we will not accept to be deployed to other counties,” he said.
Mrs. Jane Mwangi, from Tharaka South but teaching in Meru County, said most of the young teachers applied for transfers to schools near their homes in order to reunite with their spouses and build families.
“Some of the teachers who are being transferred from hardship areas have big loans that they cannot service if they lose the hardship allowance. Others like me are married but have never enjoyed marriage life because we have been working away from our spouses,” she said.
Mr. Mutinda Muriungi who works in Tigania East in Meru County, said the county TSC Director Rosemary Sokotian had refused to address them and vowed to continue camping outside her office until she listens to their grievances.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Tharaka Nithi branch executive secretary Njeru Mutani and Tharaka branch executive secretary Ndia Gwatia joined the teachers and insisted that their wishes must be met.
Mr. Mutani, who is also KNUT’s national trustee regretted that teachers are being paid peanuts and must rent houses when working away from home making life very hard for them.
Mr. Gwatia faulted the TSC office for deploying teachers from other areas in the said sub-counties thus disadvantaging those who call those areas home.
“Teachers from other sub-counties and even the neighbouring Meru and Embu counties are requesting to be taken to Tharaka South, Tharaka North and Chiakariga sub-counties because of the hardship allowances. The locals must be given priority,” said Mr Gwatia.
By John Majau
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