• The lawmakers want counties to develop infrastructures of day care centres within ECDE centres and make them safe for young children.
• Nominated Senator Gertrude Musuruve says ECDE is a preparatory stage for children to begin socialising with others outside their homes
Senators want counties to develop day-care policy and dedicate funds to the improvement of early childhood development and education.
In a motion they unanimously approved, the lawmakers want the counties to develop and equip day-care centres within ECDE centres and make them safe for children.
“The Senate urges that the Council of Governors, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, ensure counties allocate 10 per cent of their budget on ECDE towards this vulnerable group,” said nominated Senator Alice Milgo, who sponsored the motion.
Milgo, who is also the chairperson of the House Education committee, said the counties should develop a day-care policy to incorporate the needs of children who are less than three years old.
She argued that day-care facilities in the country are neither child-friendly nor habitable, hence the need to bridge the gap to capture the playgroup class in the new 2-6-3-3-3 curriculum that is replacing the 37-year-old 8-4-4 system.
“The day-care centres we have have no structured systems, have no age-appropriate activities for the children who are taken there. Therefore, children of any age are exposed to whatever activities found there,” she said.
Nominated Senator Gertrude Musuruve said ECDE is a preparatory stage for children to begin socialising with others outside their homes, thus its facilities should be improved.
“When children join the ECDE, the playing materials help them physically. For instance, jumping the rope, throwing the ball, et cetera.
“It is important that we develop children intellectually. This has a cost and the government must be ready to bear it. We cannot put the interests of children first when they are in class four or five. It has to start their early years. Therefore, this foundation has to be grounded,” he said.
Senator Rose Nyamunga said the government should develop the ECDE centres because they are the places the children get the first contact outside their homes.
“If you visit most of the county schools in the villages, you will be shocked by the kind of classrooms [they have]. The ECDE is never given priority, yet it is the beginning of education for all the children,” she said.
She added that besides the sorry state of infrastructure, ECDE teachers are not given emphasis.
Senator Samson Cherargei from Nandi said the centres and teachers have been neglected by county governments.
“We should not concentrate only on issues of infrastructure. We must also look at ensuring that ECDE teachers are given the same benefits as the teachers who are being hired by the Teachers Service Commission,” Cherargei said.
Migori's Ochillo Ayacko said, "In fact, the modest sum of 10 per cent to be allocated for this is because we do not have resources. I believe that more should be allocated."
According to the Basic Education Statistical Booklet (2016) that was released by the Ministry of Education on early learning and basic education, there are about 110,819 learners in about 5,000 ECDE centres across the country.