City Hall on the spot for ‘discrimination’ in pre-primary teachers recruitment
City Hall is on the spot over failure to employ at least 50 early childhood development education (ECDE) volunteer teachers aged 45 years and above.
This is after the Ann Kananu-led administration left out the volunteer pre-primary tutors in its recent recruitment last month, even though they met all the requirements for the position.
In April this year, the Nairobi County Public Service Board called for applications for 498 ECDE teachers and caregivers, although the age limit was not indicated in the advertisement.
In a charged committee meeting between MCAs and the board, the ward representatives accused the county government of discrimination against the teachers who have served the county schools diligently for at least 15 years.
Nairobi County Assembly Education committee acting chairperson Mwaura Samora said the county government even went ahead to issue a circular last month, dated August 11, informing the ECDE center managers to release the volunteers with immediate effect.
Nominated MCA Mary Ariviza was livid saying City Hall should not have locked out the teachers yet they are to blame for failing to carry out any recruitment in the last 20 years to absorb the volunteers.
“It is evil and an injustice to throw the teachers just because they are above 45 years. I know some who have worked for the county government for the last 20 years without being employed. Just because recruitment has not been there for all the years, somebody is now saying they cannot be recruited because of their age,” said Ms Ariviza.
Appearing before the committee, the Board’s human resource committee chairperson Ms Isha Karanja defended the county government saying they are guided by the law which gives priority to those below 45 years during employment.
She explained there is a government policy that people beyond 45 years cannot be freshly employed on a permanent and pensionable basis.
“It was also a tough time for us to see the volunteers, some qualified being left out. But our hands were tied by the law to have them on permanent and pensionable terms in Job Group G,” said Mr Karanja.
The board’s chairperson Mr Thomas Kasoa admitted that the county government is partly to blame as recruitment has been a problem at City Hall with the last time most sectors in the county absorbed new recruits being more than 20 years ago.
“For instance, this particular recruitment has been postponed three times before it eventually happened,” said Mr Kasoa.
In 2015, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, then a nominated MP, introduced a bill, the National Youth Employment Authority Bill, in the National Assembly to bar Kenyans above 35 years, amended to 45 years, from being employed in Government.
According to the bill, which was passed and assented to by President Uhuru Kenyatta in April 2016, said priority should be given to the youth and those above 45 years will only be considered if the skills and qualifications required are not available in the youth database.
Nyayo Highrise MCA Kennedy Oyugi appealed to the Board to consider employing the teachers on contractual terms as was done by Nandi County government.
“What we want is a review to have the volunteers absorbed under contract, for instance, three-year renewable contract,” he said.