MP Kipchumba raises concern over disparity in management of ECDEs

When President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua presided over the launch of Murang’a County School Feeding Programme at Kangari ECD Center, Kigumo. [PCS] 

Marakwet MP Toroitich Timothy Kipchumba has raised concern over disparities in counties' management and running of Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDEs) centres.

The National Assembly Committee on Education and Research member noted that the country has no uniformity or standardisation on how ECDEs are managed and operated.

He said each county currently has its laws on how to manage ECDEs.

“In my opinion, this is not the right direction to go as a country because if each county sets its standards as to curriculum, management, and remuneration disparities will arise,” he said.

Kipchumba also raised concern over the disparity in the remuneration of ECDE teachers, across the counties. He was seeking a statement from Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang, who had appeared before the committee.

“A case in point is the disparity in the remuneration of ECDE teachers. What measures has the Ministry put in place to provide specific standardisation measures or uniformity in matters to do with ECDEs?” Posed the MP.

He argued that ECDE is a devolved function and the national government is mandated to provide policy, standards and guidelines on ECDE.

 “Give us a clear directive as to when you will set up a policy and most importantly, a uniform legislation that will manage ECDEs in the country so that we avoid the issue of lack of standardisation, each county setting up its curriculum so that we have a uniform law,” he said.

Dr Kipsang said the Government has a budget that deals with the policy but within primary education and clarified that ECDEs have not been isolated.

On standardisation, the PS explained that they deal with the learners in terms of assessment, and instructional materials, and the Teachers Service Commission continues to register teachers who are supposed to be practising and teaching in ECDEs.

The PS said the national government handles curriculum design, approval of curriculum instructional material and approval of assessment of learners in ECDE.

He noted that Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development designs and approves the instructional materials under the Competence-Based Assessment framework, which provides how valuation is done.

In 2022, the Senate Standing Committee on Education was established to look into various issues, including the development of legal frameworks, policies, and guidelines in the education sector and the measures county governments have put in place to ensure ECDEs are adequately resourced.

The committee in a report on the inquiry of the ECDEs in the country recommended that the Senate and the county assemblies should provide oversight to ensure that the scheme of service for ECDE teachers is rolled out and implemented in all 47 county governments.

Further, it was recommended that the Ministry of Education should fast-track the development and finalisation of the school meals policy by incorporating representation from the Council of Governors (CoG), CSOs, development partners and line ministries in the Technical Committee.

County assemblies it was recommended should consider enacting legislation aimed at increasing annual budgetary allocation to the ECDE sector to at least ten per cent of the county revenue, out of which 50 per cent of the allocation should be to the ECDE sub-sector.

The Senate, CoG, and County Assemblies Forum it was recommended should review and harmonise the pre-primary education policies and generate Bills necessary to effectively implement the ECDE policies.

The committee further advised the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the CoG, to ensure that the provision of Early Childhood Education is standardized across the country by establishing quality standards and undertaking rigorous monitoring and evaluation.