Plan for more ECDE teachers suffers setback

Nyeri County might not hire over 800 Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teachers as planned.

This is after the Budget and Appropriations Committee said the request by the county’s Education department for Sh115 million was unsustainable.

Chairman of the Budget Committee Duncan Kiara told County Secretary for Education Elijah Nguyo that hiring additional teachers will increase the wage bill.

“Nyeri County is currently paying Sh2.9 billion in salaries and we cannot afford to employ more staff at this time,” said Kiara during a public forum on the area’s proposed budget allocations.

Nguyo, however, said there was need to hire more teachers as the  435 public nursery schools were understaffed.

“There was no budget for the hiring of ECDE teachers before devolution as the national government, through the Teachers Service Commission, used to hire primary and secondary school teachers. But ECDE is a fully devolved function and we must make provisions for the same,” Nguyo explained.

Kiara, however, insisted that it would not be prudent to allocate more money for hiring of the teachers.

Increase wage bill

“We understand that as a devolved function, it is under county government. But we must be practical to avoid increasing the current wage bill,” Kiara said.

Nguyo is also seeking Sh36 million to employ 200 youth polytechnic instructors.

“We have 43 youth polytechnics in the county and we only have 94 instructors and we would like to hire at least five instructors in each polytechnic at Sh15,000 per month,” Nguyo explained.

During the forum, it also emerged that the title deed for Ruringu Stadium was still held by the Agriculture Scociety of Kenya.

“There have been no renovations at the Ruringu Stadium despite the national government allocating funds for the same because of the title deed row,” Nguyo said.

During the session, the Trade and Industrialisation and Tourism department was also asked to justify the request for Sh454,000 for specialised equipment and Sh4 million for a customised vehicle.

Trade and Tourism Chief Officer Walter Macharia said operations at the Weights and Measure department had been grounded due to lack of transportation.

“The department uses very specific machines to measure the weights that traders use and without them we cannot work,” Macharia noted.