The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and political leaders in the North Eastern region have raised concerns and called on the government to take stronger measures to ensure the safety of teachers in the area. The focus on teacher security comes in response to threats posed by various factors, including the presence of the Al Shabaab militia, that are adversely affecting the learning environment in the region.
Governor Nathif Jama and Garissa Township MP Dekow Mohammed led the call, emphasizing that safeguarding teachers in all parts of the country, particularly in vulnerable regions, is a paramount responsibility of the government. The leaders stressed the importance of providing teachers with a secure environment that allows them to effectively carry out their duties.
Governor Jama expressed concern about the reluctance of local residents to enroll in Teacher Training courses, even after the administration’s commitment to providing scholarships for aspiring teachers. He highlighted that the presence of the Garissa Teachers’ Training College should have encouraged more local students to pursue teaching courses. Despite affirmative actions and sponsorships introduced to promote teacher training, the number of local enrollments remains low.
“How many local students are enrolled in teacher training colleges now? We have tried to speak to them and even introduced affirmative action and sponsorships for teacher training courses here but no one takes up the offer. If our own do not want to teach our children, why are we blaming others for refusing to teach here?” Governor Jama questioned.
MP Dekow urged teachers to utilize their positions as educators to advocate for peaceful coexistence and dialogue within their communities. He pledged support for teachers through initiatives such as infrastructure development and bursary provision for students in need. He also promised to address policy matters related to education through parliamentary channels.
Kullo Mohamed Sheikh, KNUT Assistant National Treasurer, represented the Secretary General during the Garissa Branch Annual General Meeting. He emphasized the pivotal role of teacher security in enhancing effective education delivery. Sheikh noted that teachers cannot perform optimally if they do not feel secure in their workplaces.
“The security of our teachers in the North Eastern region has been a challenge. I urge the government to prioritize their safety and take greater measures to protect them. For the government to truly support education in this region, it should enhance security measures to ensure that our teachers feel safe,” Sheikh stated.
He also suggested the need for police escorts for buses transporting teachers during the opening and closing of schools, especially along high-risk routes like Nairobi – Mandera and Wajir – Mandera.
In addition, Sheikh commended the President for establishing a task force on education reforms and expressed the full support of teachers for the implementation of the task force’s recommendations. He affirmed KNUT’s commitment to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the successful execution of the proposed education reforms.
As concerns mount over the security of teachers in the North Eastern region, the call for action underscores the importance of creating a safe and conducive learning environment that benefits both educators and students alike.