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Court Orders Laikipia County to Employ ECDE Teachers on Permanent and Pensionable Terms

A Nyeri Court judge has ordered the Laikipia County government to recruit 428 ECDE teachers on permanent and pensionable terms.

The teachers filed a case via their Kenya Union of Pre-Primary Education Teachers (KUNOPPET) General Secretary, Samwel Opiyo. They managed to convince the court that they are subjected to unfair practices of labor.

The tutors have been on contract terms but now want to be recruited on permanent and pensionable terms.

The Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teachers took Laikipia County through their union called KUNOPPET for what is in their opinion ‘unfair labor practice’ of subjecting them to unstructured contract service.’

The employment and Labour Relations Court in Nyeri ordered Laikipia County Government to employ the ECDE teachers on Permanent and Pensionable terms.

Besides, the court indicated that the salary for the tutors will be reviewed upwards by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), and the difference backdated from November 2016.

Laikipia KUNOPPET Secretary-General Salome Maina said that the ruling gives the teachers deserved dignity.

The County Government argued in court that they did not have a contract with the teachers claiming that the defunct Laikipia Municipality is the one that hired the teachers.

However, the judge observed that the ECDE teachers had been hired to teach in various public schools across the county.

In addition, he noted that evidence clearly supported their claims.

“The teachers are controlled and disciplined by the respondents (County) or its agents. Pre-primary education is a constitutionally devolved function of the counties as per Part II of the 4th schedule of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

“The respondents are therefore entitled to be in charge of ECD education in the County and the (ECD) teachers or caregivers,” ruled the judge.

The ruling is likely to cause ECDE teachers from other counties to file lawsuits seeking better employment conditions.

Lawyer Mutungi Githinji was the one representing the County Government of Laikipia.

Baringo County is the most recent county to announce that they are planning to employ ECDE teachers on permanent and pensionable terms.

The County Governor said that the employment of ECDE teachers will be transitioned progressively into permanent and pensionable terms. The ECDE teachers are currently on a three-year contract basis.

Speaking when officially handing over learning materials worth Ksh. 1.8 million at the AIC Model Nursery School in Kabarnet town, Governor H.E Stanley Kiptis assured the ECDE teachers that his Administration will be improving their schemes of service to a level they deserve, a level they will feel adequately remunerated.

“We inherited a monthly salary of an average Kshs. 7,000 for our teachers but have managed to push them to more than Ksh. 10,000 a month amid the challenge of the wage bill,” pointed out the Governor.

The County fully accounted for the purchase of textbooks that will be equitably distributed to all the 1,045 ECDE centers with every learner getting five books each and the teachers also receiving a guide for every subject.

Governor H.E Kiptis directed the County Assembly to prioritize the school feeding program that he has initiated in the next budget to reduce child hunger, improve child nutrition and enhance the performance of learners in school.

On teacher shortages, Governor Kiptis announced that the 157 teachers who exit the service shall be replaced in the coming year in order to reduce the gap of the 385 teachers required at the moment.

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