Numbers Of ECDE Teachers, Learners Decline – Report
According to a new report, despite investments by devolved governments, the number of children enrolled in early childhood development education (ECDE) continues to decline.
County governments increased funding to Sh4.970 billion in the 2019/20 fiscal year, up from Sh386.3 million in 2013, according to the Senate report “Status of Implementation of Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) in the Country.”
According to the report, enrollment increased by 6% between 2013 and 2016, from 3.019 million to 3.199 million.
However, it fell by 19% in 2018, from 3.39 million to 2.738 million.
Governors attributed the decline to the implementation of the competency-based curriculum (CBC) and the redundancy of the Baby Class, Nursery, and Pre-Unit systems.
The decrease is consistent across all counties, owing to a lack of ECDE centers, teachers and caregivers, teaching and play materials, and low staff morale due to low remuneration.
Kilifi had 80,315 students in 2016, but that figure had dropped to 23,166 in 2019. Kakamega’s students had dropped from 100,918 to 59,763, and Kitui had 46,532 students in the centers in 2019, down from 84,665 in 2016.
Due to significant investments, the number of ECDE centers has increased by 14.5% since 2013, from 24,767 in 2013 to 28,383 in 2019.
According to Ministry of Education guidelines, pre-primary schools should be established within a two-kilometer radius of residential areas and in close proximity to primary schools.
Nonetheless, the number of centers has decreased in some counties. They include Nyeri, where the population decreased from 448 to 314, Homa Bay (997 to 881), and Trans Nzoia, where the population decreased from 376 to 229.
The decrease is attributed to an increase in the number of private ECDE centers, which attract a large number of students.
In Turkana, Murang’a, and Samburu counties, the number of centers increased by 486, 429, and 402, respectively.
According to the report, despite the fact that the Basic Education Act requires outdoor playing facilities and equipment, many established ECDE centers lack toilets, water, washrooms, playgrounds, teaching and learning resources, and play materials.
Others lack appropriate furniture and equipment for special needs children.
The number of teachers has decreased by 30%, from 68,823 in 2016 to 52,780 in 2019.
The decrease in teacher hiring can be attributed to county governments progressing toward the implementation of the 2018 service scheme.
Teachers are recruited by devolved governments through county public service boards from a pool of instructors registered with the Teachers Service Commission.