NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 29 – The national government is set to engage county governments on modalities of managing Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers who despite being accredited by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) are employed by respective county governments under varying terms.
Pre-primary education is among fourteen devolved functions under the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution (2010).
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology on Thursday committed to engage all the 47 county governments after a section of lawmakers raised concerns on wide disparities among the ECD workforce across the country.
Appearing before National Assembly Education Committee, Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said although ECD is devolved, the ministry will intervene in a bid to ensure terms of service are harmonized.
“We need to find a way that would ensure that these teachers are engaged in way that is harmonized because when you see even the terms of service of ECD teachers, they all vary from one county to another and in terms of motivation and preparing children adequately at the foundation level becomes a challenge. Therefore, we need to engage our colleagues at the county level,” Kipsang said.
While debating on the Basic Education Bill (2019) presented before the committee by Murang’a Women Representative Sabina Chege, committee members led by Tinderet MP Julius Melly agreed that some counties do not pay their ECD teachers well, leaving them demotivated.
“Teachers in some counties are paid as little as five thousand, others eight thousand and some twenty thousand and it is very wrong. So, in considered opinion of this committee and all of us, it would be prudent that you take these teachers to TSC who will ensure that they are well remunerated, and they will live very well,” said Melly.
PS Kipsang however opposed a proposal in the Sabina Chege-sponsored Bill seeking the reintroduction of remedial tuition.
He said that the ban on tuition will not be lifted adding that children should be allowed to rest during school holidays.
The PS further pointed out that tuition have been abused before thus its reintroduction would lead to continued abuse.
“The issue of tuition is not an issue that the ministry would want to encourage because we are of the opinion that children need to be given a chance to be children. If it is about boosting the performance of the slow learners then I think there are other mechanisms that can be incorporated in the curriculum to help them instead of tuition,” Kipsang said.
In the Bill which seeks to amend The Basic Education Act (2013), the law that guides operations in primary and secondary schools, Chege said that tuition will only be intended to help children with learning difficulties by providing extra coaching.
“Clause ten seeks to allow tuition where there is prior written consent of the parents or the guardians of the pupils and only if the holiday tuition is remedial in nature or seeks to enhance opportunities available for students to improve their performance both in their studies and cocurricular activities,” Chege said.
The Basic Education Act (2013) outlaws holiday tuition of any kind and states that a person who goes against this law risks a fine not exceeding Sh100,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or both.