A Kenyan teacher who is also a single mother decided to camp outside the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) headquarters in Nairobi with her child to have her grievances addressed on Monday, August 3.

Lydia Ireri from Nyeri County lamented that she was being frustrated by TSC officials who reportedly revoked her letter of appointment. This made her miss out on her salary for three months.

“I need help. I am a trained teacher from the University of Nairobi and I have my TSC number. I have been registered since 2017 and I was recruited in August 2019 at ACK Canon Mweri Secondary in Kilifi County. However, I never received my appointment letter,” she lamented.

Ireri stated that she was later on told that her letter was written on February 27, 2020, and submitted to Kilifi County education offices. The office, however, stated that no such letter was received.

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Teacher Lydia Ireri stages a protest outside TSC headquarters, Nairobi, on Monday, August 3, 2020

This forced her to reach out to Kilifi County Director of Education who reportedly directed her to continue teaching at the school as they waited for the letter. Ireri stated that she proceeded to offer her services and even introduced hockey at the school. However, since March 2020, she says she has never received her salary.

She received her letter in July 2020 and her principal wrote her a casualty form to enable her to receive her salary. Ireri added that the casualty form was never submitted at TSC headquarters. Efforts to get aid from TSC were futile as she was told that the “letter was stolen”.

They also allegedly told her that she shared a TSC number with another teacher. While camping outside TSC headquarters, Ireri further stated that the guards threatened to arrest her for having an illegal TSC appointment letter.

“When will we ever get justice in Kenya. I am a Kenyan citizen but from a poor family. If I was rich, I would have already been assisted. I want TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia to address my concerns. If they want to arrest me, a single mother with a child who doesn’t know the pain I am going through, then let them do so. I will sleep here all night for I do not have fare to travel back to Kilifi,” she emotionally pleaded while wiping tears from her eyes.

TSC CEO Dr Nancy Macharia and the body’s administrators had not commented on the issue by the time the story was being published.

On Wednesday, July 8, TSC confirmed that registered teachers would continue earning their full salaries and allowances for the nine months they will stay out of class. The cushion against Covid-19 was also extended to the Board of Management (BoM) teachers. However, the fate of private teachers has never been addressed.

The Ministry of Education stated that it would release funds for BOM teachers at the end of July 2020. President Uhuru Kenyatta, while chairing the National and County Governments Coordinating Summit at State House on Monday, July 27, directed CSS Ukur Yattani (Treasury) and George Magoha (Education) to expedite the payment.

Meanwhile, the enrollment and promotion of teachers created an impasse between TSC and the  Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT). Over 30,000 teachers registered under KNUT were denied salary raises and promotions because they fell under the Scheme of Services.

The scheme was proposed by KNUT Secretary-General Wilson Sossion. KNUT stated that they would boycott classes in January 2021 when classes are set to resume if their concerns were not addressed.

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Education CS George Magoha addresses the media at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Education (KICD), Nairobi on Friday, May 29, 2020.

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