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ECDE teachers and pupils deserve better than this

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ECDE teachers and pupils deserve better than this

When we were children, the teaching profession was held in high regard. To be a teacher required passion, devotion, and commitment. It was a vocation.

Being a teacher of young learners gives one this feeling and causes one to recall their initial days in the classroom.

Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) is a calling since it requires devotion and enthusiasm to care for the parents’ entrusted tiny angels.

Nonetheless, this group of teachers is one of the most overlooked. Prior to the adoption of the Constitution of 2010, ECDEs were administered by the Ministry of Education. With the advent of devolution, however, they were transferred to county administrations.

This was a significant setback given that the history of early childhood education in Kenya is littered with successes and failures. Many may recall that these institutions were widely dispersed, with some residing in religious organizations and primary schools, while others were independent.

This complicated infrastructure investment and resource allocation, including the construction of age-appropriate classrooms and restrooms. There were also disagreements on who was responsible for appointing teachers and their salaries.

While ECDE supply was devolved to counties in 2013 as part of new constitutional arrangements, these obligations were not accompanied by explicit quality standards and policy approaches. When these institutions’ budgets were integrated with those of youth and technical and vocational institutions, fewer resources were allocated to them.

The ratio of teachers to students is a second issue. Prior to the 2010 Constitution, the Teachers Service Commission was responsible for recruiting teachers for ECDEs, but counties have failed horribly in this endeavor. This has resulted to a significant gap in the ratio of teachers to learners.

This is further compounded by the fact that few counties have salary structures for these teachers; thus, they are paid randomly.

How many parents consider the teachers who instruct learners who cannot tell the difference between head and tail when they first enter the classroom?

The two rival coalitions courted teachers’ unions and associations throughout the recently ended electioneering process. None of the associations attracted ECDE teachers.

The management of ECDEs by county governments is crucial to the development of their children’s education, thus parents should take a deep interest in the matter.

According to study conducted by Theirworld, a global charitable organization that mobilizes governments to advance the interests of children and women, children’s participation in ECDE enhances their long-term cognitive and socioeconomic skills, hence enhancing their employment prospects. Participation also enhances confidence in openness, tenacity, patience, and the application of workplace skills.

The charity’s study also reveals that ECDE enhances life prospects, with 47 percent of children (globally) who attend high-quality ECDE obtaining skilled jobs later in life, compared to 27 percent of those who do not.

“Investing in early childhood education generates substantial economic benefits that benefit families, communities, and economies. In sub-Saharan Africa, it is predicted that increasing pre-primary education enrollment by threefold would give a $33 return on investment for each dollar spent, according to the research.

As a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure that all children get two years of quality pre-primary education by 2030, Theirworld has been urging county governments to invest at least 10 percent of their education budgets in early childhood education.

UNICEF’s review of budget statistics in the Eastern Africa region reveals that Kenya invests the least in pre-primary education, at just 1.8% of its education budget, compared to Rwanda (7.7%), Tanzania (6%), Zimbabwe (%), and Ethiopia (%). (1.9 per cent).

Appropriately, this year’s World Teachers Day theme is “The change of education begins with teachers.”

No one has worked more than teachers to bring education back on track following the Covid-19 outbreak and to manage the transition from the 8-4-4 system to the competency-based curriculum. Since last year’s resumption of schools, teachers have worked diligently to get everything back on track.

In 2021, teachers worked tirelessly to catch up with the curriculum, particularly for Class 8 and Form 4. The academic year was compressed into four terms.

By January 2023, thanks to the work of the teachers, our school calendar will be back on track with regularly scheduled breaks, confirming that the reform of our education begins with teachers and that they are at the center of education recovery.

ECDE teachers are typically hired at random based on the whims of individuals in charge of education cases in each of the 47 counties.

One would have anticipated that the Council of Governors would have prioritized this matter since 2013. To our astonishment, no service plan has been developed to minimize the issues faced by ECDE teachers.

As teachers throughout the world celebrate their special day, a great lot is expected of them in their efforts to reform the education system in Kenya.

ECDE teachers and pupils deserve better than this

ECDE teachers and pupils

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