EI affiliate the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has vowed to resist any attempts by the Minister for Finance to slash the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Education.
KNUT secretary-general, Francis Ng'ang'a said it would be unwise for the Finance minister, David Mwiraria, to reduce the education budget, given its heavy commitments. "The minister should instead increase funding to education so that more teachers could be hired and the three remaining phases of the salary increment implemented at a go," Ng'ang'a said in Meru town. Mwiraria early last week hinted that he may be forced to slash funds allocated to various ministries, to raise funds to buy food for Kenyans who have been affected by famine. Ng'ang'a said he would convene an urgent NEC meeting to discuss the current food crisis facing the country. "Knut is saddened by the thousands of families especially in North Eastern and other areas who are starving," he said. However, the KNUT believes the crisis could have been averted if the government had planned effectively. Ng'ang'a pointed out that thousands of school children have been locked out of class with teachers, especially those working in the frontier districts, bearing the brunt of the famine. Mr Ng'ang'a, said the country's 18,000 primary schools and 4,000 secondary schools required an extra 60,000 teachers for quality learning. The Government imposed an employment freeze on teachers and civil servants in 1998 in a move to improve the ailing economy.