The Kabarnet School for the Deafblind in Baringo County has reopened after Ministry of Education officials reached an agreement with the striking staff.
The school once famed as a premier destination for children with disabilities had failed to open for third term of the schools calendar after the support staff went on strike over unpaid dues.
The workers comprising largely of teacher aides, catering staff, drivers and general duty staff were demanding ten months’ wages arrears owed to them by the institution.
However a team of eight officials from ministry of education headquarters, Nairobi visited the school on Monday and reassured the staff of receiving their wages in a fortnight.
County Director of Education (CDE) Moses Karati confirmed the new development saying activities had normalized in the school.
“Indeed there is a problem of shortage of resources in the school and the officials from Nairobi are working on a plan to pay off the workers,” said Karati.
He assured that the officials were able to convince the workers of being paid their dues and that they intended to solve the problem once and for all.
A male worker who declined to be named for fear of victimization claimed that all the non-teaching staff of the state-run Kabarnet School for the Deafblind had not received their salaries for the last ten months.
“We have agreed to return to work albeit halfheartedly because we are not sure if they will pay the arrears,” said the staff.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) National Secretary in charge of Tertiary institutions Sammy Chelanga speaking during Baringo branch AGM meeting at Mogotio town accused the government through the ministry of education for failing to address the grievances of the critical workers, thus subjecting the children with severe disabilities to unnecessary suffering.
Mr Chelanga who is the Baringo KUPPET Branch Executive Secretary said it was unfortunate that the children who rely on the staff for all their needs have remained at home while their normal counterparts were busy learning and preparing for national examinations.
“We want the government to think about children with severe disabilities and ensure the institution which is one of the largest in the country is opened immediately for the children to resume learning. It is not fair to allow them to languish at home as their parents do not understand their language of communication,” he stated.
The Kabarnet School for deafblind children which is the mother school in East and Central Africa and situated within Kabarnet town in Baringo Central sub-county was established in 1985 by retired President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi.
The school admits children between 5-18 years old with multiple challenges that is deaf and blind and other disabilities, currently the school enrolment stands at 75 pupils with 40 teaching staff and 28 non-teaching staff who offer support services.
By Christopher Kiprop