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North-Eastern Teachers Protest at TSC Offices, Demand Transfers Over Al-Shabaab Threats

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North-Eastern Teachers Protest at TSC Offices, Demand Transfers Over Al-Shabaab Threats

Hundreds of teachers from northern Kenya camped out in front of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) headquarters in Nairobi on Tuesday, demanding transfers due to insecurity.

The teachers, hailing from the counties of Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa, stated that they would not return to their duty stations until their employer relocated them out of the region.

“We desire only transfer and nothing else. The military cannot constantly accompany us as if we were illegal substances. Even when we are escorted, the military is behind our buses, exposing us to peril. One of the teachers said, “We are now saying no to Mandera.”

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According to the teachers, TSC employees who were tasked with facilitating their transfers have disregarded their requests.

“We were instructed to send a letter to the commission for a response prior to the reopening of school, which we did, but we have not heard back from them,” said another teacher.

They reported that they arrived at the TSC headquarters on Monday morning and were granted access by officials. However, according to the instructor, all they were given were “repeated lies from our superiors telling us to return to our duty stations.”

The teachers reported that upon their return to the commission headquarters in the Upper Hill neighborhood of the city on Tuesday morning, they were denied entry into the offices, forcing them to set up camp within the compound.

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On Monday, primary and secondary institutions reopened for the third term of the year.

Just weeks prior to the teachers’ demonstrations, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki urged the TSC to consider deploying non-local teachers in the insecure Northern counties for shorter durations and then redistributing them.

On August 2, the CS informed a parliamentary education committee that insecurity affects the mental health of non-local teachers. Through incitement, locals, he told the committee, contribute to the insecurity of non-native instructors.

Professor Kindiki revealed that the Northern region is currently contending with multiple challenges. According to him, intelligence reports indicate a surge in the activities of terror groups, whose motivations remain unclear.

Moreover, he pointed out instances of local communities engaging in incitement against non-local teachers, a factor contributing to the existing threats.

In light of this situation, he stressed the need for collaborative efforts to address the shortage of teachers. He emphasized the importance of involving local communities in recognizing the urgent necessity for additional educators.

The security minister also suggested temporarily concentrating the instructors in a single area to shield them from al-Shabaab attacks.

According to the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Mandera County requires over 2,000 teachers to fill vacancies in 300 public primary schools and 550 public secondary schools.

In December of 2014, a bus carrying 28 teachers on their way to Nairobi for the December holidays was assaulted, resulting in their deaths.

Last month, KNUT Executive Secretary Hussein Hassan told Citizen Digital that this precipitated a mass exodus of teachers, particularly non-locals.

In January 2020, the region confronted a new teacher shortage after the TSC transferred tutors from other parts of the country, citing insecurity after three of them were killed in a night raid by al-Shabaab.

North-Eastern Teachers Protest at TSC Offices, Demand Transfers Over Al-Shabaab Threats

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