Benefits of Kenya National Union of Teachers' welfare programmes to Primary school teachers in teachers in Mwingi district, Kenya
One of the core functions of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) is promoting programmes aimed at improving teachers' welfare and socio-economic status. The KNUT has a number of socio-economic welfare programmes including: Enterprises and Building Projects; Savings and Credit Societies; Burial and Benevolent Funds, and Children's Education Schemes. These programmes are geared toward improving the wellbeing of KNUT members. Researchers have indicated that the low status, poor remuneration, constant ridicule in public and the mass media, the lack of fringe benefits, heavy workload, and deplorable working conditions have created a lot of despair amongst teachers. The purpose of this study was therefore to establish the benefits of the Kenya National Union of Teachers' welfare programmes to primary school teachers in Mwingi District, Kenya. The study employed a descriptive survey research design, and targeted all the 1,886 teachers serving in the 247 public primary schools in Mwingi District. The study used a sample of 200 teachers for the study, with the condition for inclusion being that they should have been members of KNUT. Random sampling was used to select 20 schools from the 247 primary schools in Mwingi District, from which 200 teachers (10 per school) were selected using stratified random sampling. The researcher also randomly selected three KNUT Branch Executive Council (BEC) members for interviews. Data was collected using teachers' questionnaire and BEC members' interview schedules. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequencies, percentages and means. The study established that the Mwingi branch of KNUT operates welfare and socioeconomic programmes that are beneficial to teachers. The most popular programmes are savings and credit societies followed by burial and benevolent fund. The least popular programmes were children education schemes enterprise and building projects. As a result of membership to the projects, teachers felt that their daily lives as teachers had improved. The researcher therefore concludes that teachers unions like the KNUT play a key role in promoting the welfare of teachers, not only by fighting for salary increments but also by running income generating activities and other welfare programmes including savings and credit societies, burial and benevolent fund, children education schemes, and enterprise and building projects. The study recommends that KNUT officials should come up with modalities to monitor the progress of welfare and socioeconomic programmes in order to make them more profitable and avoid misappropriation of resources, all teachers should be encouraged to join the welfare and socioeconomic programmes operated by their unions in order to tap from the benefits of these programmes; managers of the welfare and socioeconomic programmes should be trained on innovative strategies for income generation, especially the utilization of advances in information and communication technologies; and KNUT should commit money into research and development of new products and services that would bring financial benefits to union members, in order to ensure sustainability of these programmes.
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