By Samuel Ouma
The pressure is piling on the Kenyan government to provide teachers deployed in volatile areas with firearms.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) also wants the government to offer security training to tutors to eliminate attacks usually occasioned by gunmen.
The demand emerged following previous incidents where teachers working in high-risk areas have been killed by attackers, especially in the North-Eastern and coastal regions.
Acting KUPPET Secretary General Moses Nthurima told the media that issuing teachers with guns will increase their confidence and scare away attackers.
“We are repeating this demand that in the pockets of insecurity, teachers must be trained and provided with guns. You cannot confront a gunman with chalk. When we take a teacher to insecurity prone areas, that teacher will constantly live in fear. But if the gun is hanging on his back, even bandits will know that teacher is a no-go zone, and they will take a second thought before making any mistake,” he said.
It had been reported that several schools located in the North-Eastern are experiencing a shortage of teachers after the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) withdrew the non-local ones from the region due to rising cases of insecurity.
Mandera Governor Ali Roba, on January 20, said his county has a shortage of 1,849 teachers for public primary schools and 517 in secondary schools.
“We have 57 public secondary schools and 295 public primary schools, respectively. Due to TSC’s teachers’ withdrawal, the shortage of teachers in Mandera County stands at 1,849 for primary schools. In contrast, in public secondary schools, the shortage is 517,” said Roba noting that Al-Shabaab has succeeded in stopping learning in the region.
The departure of tutors from the region had elicited public outcry, with leaders from the area threatening to sue TSC.