October 09, 2002 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Kenyan Strike

Teachers are on strike throughout Kenya to protest the government’s refusal to implement pay raises promised in 1997.

Nearly 240,000 teachers left their classrooms in the East African nation on Sept. 25, a walkout that has effectively stopped instruction in the country, according to John Musambayi Katumanga, the president of the Kenya National Union of Teachers.

The upheaval that has resulted from the strikes has been blamed for the death of one student and injuries to another.

The Ministry of Education agreed five years ago to a five-phase plan that would increase teachers’ salaries by 150 percent to 200 percent, Mr. Katumanga said. But teachers have seen only one salary increase—35 percent for the highest-paid teachers and 45 percent for the lowest-paid teachers—since that time, he said.

In 1998, teachers attempted to strike to protest the low pay, but at that time, the ministry refused to negotiate. Now, Mr. Katumanga said, the strikes will continue until the ministry agrees to negotiate with the union.

“We have told them to offer something on the table,” said Mr. Katumanga, who added that government officials have said that the country does not have enough money to offer raises to the teachers.

Officials with the Ministry of Education could not be reached for comment.

But according to newspaper accounts, Henry Kosgey, the education minister, has declared the strikes illegal and threatened teachers with disciplinary action if they do not return to work.

The education minister also has reportedly pledged to hire replacements for any teachers who did not return to work.

Trouble has erupted throughout the country as a result of the strike, local newspapers have reported.

For example, according to Kenyan papers, teachers who have chosen not to leave their classrooms have been caned in front of their students by union officials.

A 13-year-old boy was killed by a taxi while trying to return home after he was turned away from school. And a 15-year old girl was seriously injured when she fell out of a first-story window at her school in Nairobi after chasing other students through the building.

Meanwhile, demonstrations have been held in several towns, and some protesting teachers were injured when police hurled tear gas at them in an effort to disperse the crowds.

Mr. Katumanga dismissed the newspaper stories, saying that they were exaggerated.

—Michelle Galley


English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Education Civil Rights Groups Sue Tennessee Over Law Against Transgender Student Athletes
The state law bars transgender athletes from playing public high school or middle school sports aligned with their gender identity.
3 min read
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Mark Humphrey/AP