Teachers’ union now wants employer of its members meet medical bills for a Kajiado teacher it “caused” her give birth to premature twins.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Kajiado Chapter) has apportioned blame on the Teachers Service Commission for the tribulation of their female teacher, who survived abortion, soon after she was served with interdiction letter.
County KNUT executive Secretary Elly Korinko claimed one of their member, Jacqueline Shanka, 33, who is the headmistress of Osorai Primary School in Mashuuru Zone, collapsed several times before developing health complications soon after being served with interdiction letter.
Shanka received her interdiction letter from Kajiado TSC offices after defending her show cause letter that questioned her absence during a crucial competency-based curriculum course.
She was 7-months pregnant at the time on Tuesday this week. Shanka had explained to TSC why she missed the CBC in Mashuuru due to rains that pounded her home area and made roads impassable.
“I told them I use a motorbike to travel to Mashuuru and also to go school, and on the said dates when I was expected to attend to CBC, heavy rains pounded Mashuuru thus rendering the roads muddy,” Shanka had explained to TSC on a letter.
“Instead of listening and understanding my situation, at the time, the county TSC director, Jamal Ahmed, found joy in breaking my heart. He served me with an interdiction letter without even reading my written defense,” she claimed.
Korinko on Saturday gave Kajiado county TSC director one week to start settling Shanka’s medical bill, or prepare for a “mother of all court battles”.
“We are not begging them to foot the bill but demanding that they must settle the bill without further communication on the same. They meted injustices on our own member, and it is time they realise the damage they have caused on the teacher,” said Korinko.
Responding to Korinko, Ahmed said; “We are very sorry for what happened to our teachers. But all the same, there was no documentary evidence that Shanka was unwell, and in any case, how would I have known if a teacher is pregnant.”
Ahmed insisted that the county Knut official created a crisis by telling teachers not to attend the TSC’s CBC and that he is surprised that Korinko has continued again to create another crisis.
“As things are, the TSC has received stay orders regarding interdictions and we are waiting to get the interpretation of those court documents on Monday before we move forward. It is them who went to court and everything must now be directed to the courts,” said the county TSC director.
He said as a person, he feels for the teacher. “We depended on the information we were served with from the zones and sub-counties. I have no personal grudge with Shanka, whom I even do not know,” he added.
Shanka too says she does not know the new TSC director at a personal level but expected him to understand her issues are related in her letter.
“I developed swollen legs, headache and felt premature labour pain as my blood pressure shot up. As I was being rushed to Mashuuru health centre which is 67 kilometres away, I gave birth to twins in the bushes alone,” said Shanka on Friday.
She spoke from her hospital bed at Kajiado County referral hospital, where she was later taken for specialized treatment.
The teacher explained that she could have just carried her pregnancy to full term, but the shock she got after receiving her interdiction letter dealt her a big blow.
“My husband too, Stanley Supeyo, had been interdicted a day earlier on the same grounds as mine. He is living with disability and is a head teacher at Naretoi Primary School in Mashuuru,” Shanka said.
While at the hospital, Shanka explained that she has other three children left with her husband at home and that she is worried about their condition because they cannot fend for themselves.
“What caused my blood pressure to shoot up was the realization that came to me that my husband and I had lost the source of livelihood in terms of earnings,” explained Shanka.
Her husband, Supeyo, who we did not talk to, is said to have given the same explanation to TSC but were not considered as a genuine reason for him to miss the CBC course.
Shanka spoke to us after the High Court on Thursday temporarily stopped the TSC from proceeding with any disciplinary action against 221 teachers who boycotted the training on the new CBC.
On Tuesday last week, TSC sent show-cause letters to about 160 teachers for boycotting/disrupting the CBC training in April.
Justice Byram Ongaya, however, suspended the disciplinary action following a case filed by the Kenya National Union of Teachers which argues that TSC’s action was unfair and unreasonable.
KNUT has continuously stood its ground against the implementation of the new curriculum claiming it was being conducted unlawfully.
In a Kajiado alone 58 teachers including the county Knut executive secretary, Elly Korinko were served with show-cause letters.
Korinko on Friday confirmed he received two show cause letters implicating him on the disruption of the April CBC course and allegedly blocking teachers from attending it.
“They can serve as many letters as they can, but I will never waste time responding to them. I am not answerable to the TSC county director on such matters that affect the welfare of my members,” said Korinko.