Education sector stakeholders urge the government to consider allocating 10% of the education budget fund to the Early Childhood Education and Development (ECDE) sector in order to give preschool learners a solid base.
Dr Teresa Mwoma, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood and Special Needs Education at Kenyatta University, said children at ECD level should be given a solid foundation from an early age, as their future learning and development of brain growth depend on it.
Dr Mwoma said that children who have not completed preschool education fall behind in education, noting that early childhood learning enables a child to have a quality education, to acquire social skills, to have respect, to be curious to learn, to develop resilience stressful and traumatic experience.
“Children who start kindergarten are likely to stay in school and are better at math,” she added.
She announced that, according to a 2019 survey, a total of 2.7 million children were enrolled in preschool education nationwide, including 1,916,690 in public schools and 821,897 in private schools.
According to the survey, there were a total of 92,359 teachers in pre-primary schools, 53 percent of whom were employed by county governments and 47 percent by private schools. The teacher-student ratio in public schools was 1:37 in public schools and in private schools was 1:21 while policy requires the ratio to be 1:25 students.
In 2019, the total number of pre-primary schools was 46,530, of which 28,383 were public and 18,147 private respectively.
Mwoma was speaking at a media breakfast on Thursday at a Nairobi hotel to discuss early childhood education and development and the upcoming Global Partnership for Education Replenishment Summit, a event organized by TheyWorld, a global charity.
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Replenishment Summit, scheduled for 28e to 29e By July 2021 in London, the goal is to raise at least US $ 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, opinion leaders, technical experts, civil society organizations, youth, business and community leaders, faith-based organizations, international financial institutions and academics.
She also urged the government to put in place measures that will ensure that all policies related to ECD receive adequate attention and in particular in the areas of teacher staffing, curricula, teacher qualification requirements, curriculum. service and appropriate infrastructure.
âThere is a need to develop funding and a service program, hire qualified teachers, have capacity training for teachers, as well as standard guidelines that can be followed by all ECDs,â Mwoma said.
At the same time, she called for raising awareness among members of the public about the importance of early childhood education and its benefits, and engaging them on how to raise and help their children to grow up fully, because this will make them responsible citizens.
Speaking at the event, political economic analysis on ECDE in Kenya, Mr. Ibrahim Alubala, said there is a need for the country to develop regulations on ECD, legislation which he says ensure the protection of children’s rights.
He said the regulations would also ensure that principals continuously monitor student attendance, which he said will reduce the incidence of dropping out.
“These regulations will also clarify the rights of children with special needs, the creation of registration of ECD centers, accreditation, quality assurance and protection,” said Alubala and lamented that the learning problems infancy are rarely mentioned because most people think they are. not important.
âWe need to do research on ECD and have a strong policy so that the most important issues in life can be strengthened,â he added.
Kenya was supported by the Global Partnership for Education with around Sh. 8 billion to support grade one math which started with grade one and then moved on to grades two through four in a program that ended in 2019.
At the event were Gilbert Ngaira, consultant for Theirworld and Global Education Summit Kenya, and Ms. Anne Mwaniki, Global Youth Ambassador.