The musings of an ‘EXAMINER!’
The KCSE marking is just around the corner. Yeah! We’ve visited the KNEC contracted professionals’ website page and hit the green colour ACCEPT button with glee. Bingo! We’ve downloaded the invitation letters. Yes, we are reporting as from the 28th of November at the various marking centres. Those going marking for the first time are so excited that they are walking around with the invitation letters showing everyone who cares to see. They think they have made it in life! It is a dream come true too for most of us who have never seen the inside of a national school. ( Most of these marking centres are the national schools that we never qualified for) You see; it will be such a pleasure to interact with the dorms and the tuition blocks literary not mentioning the dining halls where our KNEC three-course meals will be savoured! (Read the mashakura culinary experience)
25% of TAXATION
Anyway, before I digress, I want to talk about what made me think of pouring my heart out on this marking thing-the 5% KNEC withholding tax! At first, my feeble mind couldn’t comprehend what these huge terminologies meant. This is when I tried to file my returns sometimes mid this year. The cyber guy masquerading as an economist of Kibaki’s league ‘combed’ me that I had to pay the 25% of the total amount I had earned from marking the previous year-2018. I didn’t believe him that I owed the government a whooping 13,600 in taxes. I couldn’t even eat with the thought of owning the government. Imagine me owning the government from the tearfully-earned cash – marking! (Those who mark can relate and those who don’t please keep your wealthy lanes.) This is money that is earned through real sweat and pain. This is money that is really earned if you know what earning is. I couldn’t trust the cyber guru so I rushed to the KRA offices to confirm. On arrival, the officer in charge at the counter casually confirmed that it was true that I owed the government the said amount.”This is what we mean by WITHHOLDING,” she quipped contemptuously! It was apparent that she was speaking to a Kenyan teacher. She must have read frustration on my face as she tried to comfort me by insisting that I had to pay the amount or else it would accumulate to colossal amounts which would be recovered from my retirement benefits. Yes, retirement! She had assumed that I would live that long when the life expectancy in this middle-class( as the government tumbocrats would want us to believe) economy is 45. She had assumed that ‘things kwa ground are the same’. That my Kcb Mpesa, Mshwari, Tala, Platinum loans ,salary advances, mercury sugar, plastic Chinese fish, eggs, the 35%interest rates on bank loans(read interest capping laws) and above all her lordship at the helm of TSC with her continuous threats over my job were to spare me- to retirement. ( if KNUT can be killed- who am I?)
Anyway, I loved her optimism of me paying the taxes accrued from the torturous marking exercise on retirement! Isn’t this sweet? Honestly, I don’t know. Do you? Teachers in this corner of the universe may not decipher all these. It is a complex web! ( How can such a giant teachers’ trade union be killed?)
THE REAL WORK
(Anyway, forgive my deranged teacher’s mind) Back to marking. Professor Magoha is manning the exams ‘himuselefu’! He together with his fat contingent from Jogoo house is leaving nothing to chance. They must oversee a credible exam. Exams are such important. Aren’t they? The exercise is all-important until the Kenyan teacher surfaces in the picture! As a classroom tutor( read teacher), invigilator, supervisor and even marker! Its importance vanishes in thin air when it comes to their pay and general welfare. The centre managers, for example, wake up as early as 4 am in the name of collecting the exams from them containers. Sadly, the country lost one of the managers on 4th November on a grisly road accident as she travelled in these wee hours to pick up the exams in Naivasha. Is there any compensation for teachers when they die on duty?
Invigilators and supervisors work round the clock to administer these exams. Marking in ungodly hours(read 4 am-11 pm) carrying heavy script boxes, coordination of marking schemes, crosschecking, adjudication of marks among other duties characterise the Kenyan teacher’s overall responsibility during this examination period! But wait…What are we paid for all these? A pittance that is again subjected to 25% taxation rate for anything above 24,000.
I almost forgot. Sorry. we are Kenyan teachers. Our pay comes from God!
We handle the work while they handle the cash. Donge?
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