Mr Sossion said the order was draconian and punitive to teachers who are already overworked with meagre pay.
In a circular dated February 2, Nancy Macharia, the chief executive officer of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), told teachers to seek written permission to be away from their institutions when co-curricular activities are taking place on weekends or public holidays.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary-general Wilson Sossion has told teachers to defy an order by their employer to report to work on weekends.
The circular also directed that extracurricular activities requiring the involvement of teachers should be scheduled for weekends and holidays, not week days.
Also, all government ministries, agencies and non-governmental bodies involved in educational tasks that require the participation of teachers were ordered to schedule these for weekends and school holidays.
According to the TSC, the new rules are meant to curb absenteeism and retain teachers’ contact with students for effective curriculum implementation.
But the unionists said the government should address the gap in the ratio between students and teachers.
“We have a 37 per cent teacher shortage yet the government prioritises police employment to that of tutors. It means that by ignoring the education sector, they anticipate more thugs,” Mr Sossion said.
On Saturday, Mr Sossion said it was ridiculous for the TSC to release such a circular without involvement of the union.
“Teachers should not report to work on weekends. Any circular released without discussion is null and void,” Mr Sossion said.
He spoke in Kisumu when he officially opened the Kisumu Teachers’ Burial and Benevolent Fund office in Mamboleo. “Ms Macharia has a habit of releasing directives through social media. For such, you don’t even need to go on strike. You simply defy them,” the outspoken unionist said.
He said teachers should observe the stipulated school hours then leave to undertake family and private matters, save for those on duty.
Speaking separately, Mr Zablon Awange, the executive secretary of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education, Kisumu County, said the circular went against an earlier one by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matingi stipulating the working times for teachers.
“The rules are intended to enslave teachers without offering overtime allowance. They will be opposed in court,” Mr Awange said.
Mr Sossion and Mr Awange said the ministry should be spearheading the new 2-6-6-3 system that will integrate extracurricular activities within the week instead of “punishing” teachers.
“It means TSC is not even aware that the upcoming system will treat co-curriculum activities as part of the main events,” Mr Sossion said.
Mr Awange said: “The current priority should be employment of more teachers before implementation of the new syllabus. The ministry and TSC are chewing more than they can swallow”.
At the same time, Mr Sossion renewed his call to have the 2016 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations remarked, saying the high number of students missing chances in colleges would lead to increased crime.
He said that besides leaving out composition and Insha marks in the rush to release results, certain important rules were not followed in the marking process.
“The CS has condemned over 300,000 students who scored below D in 2016 KCSE to a bleak future,” Mr Sossion said.