Kuppet Chairman’s Speech At The Annual Delegates Conference Held At Eldoret Polytechnic In Eldoret On 18th December
It is my utmost pleasure to welcome you to the 23rd annual Delegates conference of KUPPET.
Last year would have seen us mark the 22nd ADC ,but complications arising from the covid 19 pandemic made it impossible for the Delegates to convene physically like we have done today.
In that light,assembling here for this year’s conference symbolises the progress we have made as a country .While the pandemic still poses a serious threat to kenyan’s National public health,the rising rate of vaccination and increased disease surveillance are bearing positive results .
Nevertheless,I urge us not to lower our guard against the pandemic.Both at this conference and in our daily lives,let us lead the fight against covid-19 by observing all the laid down protocols.
At this moment,may I ask the conference to observe a minute of silence in honour of our members who perished during the pandemic.Thank you .Thank you
As Delegates to the conference,we thank the almighty God that,after two years of agonising uncertainty,we are back here, stronger than before .I pay tribute to all the Union’s organs,starting with our outgoing Trustees,the National Governing Council,the National Executive Board and our branch leaders for the resilience you have demonstrated over the period .
Challenges of covid-19 Era
Aside from lost lives,the pandemic undermined the gains we had made in the education sector.By and large ,it set our education system back several years back, following the lengthy closure of schools.
As we grappled with the disruption,gaping sectoral problems came to the fore.Foremost,Kenya lags far behind other peer countries in ICT adoption in learning.It proved an upholly task for most schools to organize virtual classes in the absence of in person learning .
Related to this is the huge infrastructure deficit in kenyan schools ,which were already grappling with challenges of 100% transition policy.During the outbreak period, Kuppet gallantly fought many battles on behalf of our members .Thanks to our advocacy for an education sector stimulus ,teachers employed under the Boards of management secured renumeration and subsequent employment.
We also pressed the case for Diploma teachers, resulting in their promotions after more than four years of stagnation.
In the post pandemic era,the crash programme adopted by the government to recoup lost time has poked the hornet’s nest .The ongoing social unrest in schools arise in part from the various tensions triggered by the crash programme . Other contributory factors include stresses related to the long lockdowns of 2020 ,understaffing in the institutions, infrastructure deficiency,and cut-throat competition for learning and accommodation resources.
Many parents lost their jobs following economic crunch by covid.inherent episodes of domestic violence took a toll on students who were further slapped with compressed school calendars.
Kuppet is concerned by the anti union stance taken by many public and private employers .Globally,it is well recognised that the most effective way to address the ravages of the covid-19 pandemic is through economic stimulus
From Europe to America and Asia , governments have taken strong measures to empower workers .Many countries have enacted new laws providing for flexible working hours ,high protections for employment and collective bargaining ,and even financial incentives to employers .
Quite unfortunately,Kenya has moved in exactly the opposite direction .A clear proof of this fact is the illegal moratorium by salaries and renumeration commission against salary reviews for public servants for the next two years .The moratorium was used to deny teachers any salary increment in the 2021/2022 financial year ,but it has not stopped the government from raising the salaries for members of parliament and other political offices .
UNION REMAINS STRONG .
Despite the challenges of the last two years ,I am happy to inform you that the union remains strong ,with a current membership of more than 110,000 .
Kuppet is also highly regarded by all partners in the education sector .Our voice is indispensable in education policy debates at the national and county levels.I thank all our Delegates for the good work you are doing at the grassroots,and the various union officers for their tireless work in keeping the Kuppet flying in different forums .
It also gives me immense pleasure to report that democracy is thriving in Kuppet .Our elections this year were the most competitive union elections.I am proud to report that the process was conducted in a free ,fair and transparent manner .Among the big winners were young teachers and women .In many branches ,the median age of officials is between 33-38 years .Baringo ,Isiolo ,kilifi ,Tana River and Wajir have some of the youngest executive secretaries.
Likewise,women representation also increased from 114 in 2016 to 125 across all branches .Kericho branch elected it’s second female executive secretary ,Madam Mary Rotich .Three branches (Garissa,Kiambu and Tana River) are now chaired by women .
With those remarks ,I now call upon the secretary general to lay the agenda for this meeting and take us through the deliberations .
I wish you a merry Christmas season ”
This speech was read by the acting chairman Mr Julius Korir