KNA Stakeholders in the education sector are urging the government to consider allocating 10 percent of the education budgetary fund to the Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) sector in order to give pre-primary learners a firm foundation.
Kenyatta University Senior Lecturer, Early Childhood and Special Needs Education, Dr. Teresa Mwoma, said children in ECD level should be given a firm foundation in their early years as their future learning brain growth development depends on it.
Dr. Mwoma said children who have not passed through pre-primary education, lag behind in education, noting that early childhood learning enables a child to have quality education, acquire social skills, have respect, be curious to learn, develop resilience to cope with stressful and traumatic experience.
“Children who start from pre-primary school are likely to stay in school and are better in numeracy skills,” she added.
She announced that according to a survey conducted in 2019, a total of 2.7 million children enrolled in pre-primary education countrywide, of which 1,916,690 were in public schools while 821,897 were in private schools.
According to the survey, the pre-primary schools had a total of 92, 359 teachers of which 53 per cent were employed by county governments while 47 per cent by private schools. The teacher pupil ratio in public schools was 1:37 in public schools and in private schools was 1:21 while the policy requires the ratio to be 1:25 pupils.
In 2019 the total number of pre-primary schools was 46,530 of which the public were 28,383 and private 18,147 respectively.
Mwoma was speaking, today, during a media breakfast meeting held at a Nairobi hotel to discuss Early Childhood Development and Education and the forthcoming Global Partnership on Education Replenishment Summit, an event that was organized by the TheirWorld, a global charity organization.
The Global Partnership on Education (GPE) Replenishment Summit, set for 28th to 29th July, 2021 in London, targets to raise at least U$5 billion to support education systems in up to 90 countries and territories, where 80 percent of the world’s children live.
The Summit aims to bring together Heads of State, ministers, parliamentarians, thought-leaders, technical experts, civil society organizations, young people, business and community leaders, faith based organizations, international financial institutions and academicians.
She also urged the government to put in place measures that will ensure that all policies related to ECD are given adequate attention and in particular in the areas of staffing of teachers, curriculum, teachers qualification requirements, scheme of service and proper infrastructure.
“There is need to develop funding and a scheme of service, hiring of qualified teachers, to have capacity training for teachers, as well as have standard guidelines that can be followed by all ECDs,” said Mwoma.
She at the same time called for the sensitization of members of the public on the importance of Early Childhood Education and its benefits, and engaging them on how to nurture and support their children to grow to the fullness, as it will make them responsible citizens.
Speaking at the event, the Political Economic Analysis on ECDE in Kenya, Mr. Ibrahim Alubala, said there is need for the country to come up with regulations on ECD, a legislation he said will ensure that children’s rights are protected.
He said the regulations will also ensure that head teachers continuously monitor the attendance of pupils, a move he said will curb incidences of school dropout.
“These regulations will also spell out the rights of children with special needs, creation of registration of ECD centers, accreditation, quality assurance and protection,” said Alubala and lamented that issues of early childhood learning are rarely mentioned as most people feel that it is not important.
“We need to do a research on ECD and have a robust policy so that issues that are more important in life can be strengthened,” he added.
Kenya has been supported by the Global Partnership on Education with about Sh. 8 billion to support early grade mathematics which started with class one and later moved to classes two to four in a programme that ended in 2019.
Present at the event were Theirworld and Global Education Summit Kenya Consultant Gilbert Ngaira, and Ms. Anne Mwaniki the Global Youth Ambassador.