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Devolution boosted our education, says Kingi

COUNTY_NAIROBI
By Benard Sanga | April 23rd 2015
KILIFI-FREE PRE-EDUCATION LAUNCH; Kilifi County governor Amason Kingi picks examines books displayed outside the County's department of Education, youth, and Social development at Kilifi town in Kilifi County on Thursday,012th March,2015. This was during the launch of “Free Pre-primary Education” in the County attended by all the Members of his County Assembly (MCAs) . He said his administration is determined to see the foundation in academic in the entire County raised to an acceptable standard.[PHOTO BY MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD]

Kilifi, Kenya: Kilifi County has over the years grappled with the problem of severe famine, which led to high school drop-out rates.

The 2012 statistics from the Education department show that over 6,000 pupils dropped out schools, mainly due to famine.

But since 2013, it has been a race against time by the county administration to ensure pupils stay in school. They did this by launching a two-pronged strategy, by investing substantial amount of money in agriculture and education.

Governor Amason Kingi says the county government released Sh490 million each year for scholarship to students joining secondary school, a move that has seen the a drop in the number of school drop-outs

"My administration has given education priority. That is the reason we initiated the Ward Scholarship Fund, where each of the 35 elective wards get Sh14 million to assist needy children," said Mr Kingi.

The county has also placed Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) top on its development agenda, and has plans to increase funds allocation to set up 35 model nursery schools in the area.

Education Executive Salma Ahmed says the administration was currently constructing model nursery in each of the 35 wards, at a cost of Sh9 million.

"The county, in the 2013/2014 budget spent Sh120 million to construct 14 model nursery schools in Kilifi county. And this financial year, we will spend Sh100 million to construct ten more centres," said the Executive.

She said each model nursery school will have four classes, with the capacity to accommodate 50 pupils.

BIG SUCCESS

According to Kingi, the project, which is in its third phase has been a big success. The county now plans to construct eleven ECDE schools in the 2016/2017 financial year.

"We strive to ensure quality and affordable ECD education to all pupils in the county. This will ensure there is progress from nursery, primary, secondary and even to college level for our children," said Kingi.

And to make sure the ECDE centres have enough qualified teachers, the county set up a special ECDE Teachers Training and Resource Centre, the first one of its kind in Kenya, at Fumbini in Kibarani ward.

Ms Ahmed says over 80,000 pupils have since enrolled for the programme and the number is expected to increase next year and that 'our worry is the sustainability of the program.'

"We have 700 learning centres and we have supplied all of them with learning materials and employed caregivers for them. This program is aimed to reduce the burden for parents," said Ms Ahmed.

Records at the county reveal that over Sh20 million has been spent by the county to buy learning materials like books, pencils, pens, rubbers, chalks and charts for the pupils.

Ms Ahmed says the county government is currently spending Sh5 million for the salaries of the 500 caregivers. She says the number is expected to increase to 1,600 next year, and will cost the county Sh16 million in salaries.

Another area of success is in agriculture, where the county administration has purchased 14 farm tractors, which farmers are now using to plough their farms.

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