The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) want the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to be charged with recruiting Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teachers.
Their efforts are gaining ground with Malel Langat and Richard Lentyaa, members of the KNUT National Executive Committee believing that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) should be the one hiring and assigning ECDE teachers across the country.
The governor of Bomet Hillary Barchok supports the move and he said that counties are ready to transfer ECDE instructors to TSC for permanent and pensionable employment.
Mr Langat said that counties underpay ECDE teachers with those having diplomas earning up to Kshs. 12,000 which has only demoralized them over the years.
KNUT executive secretary – Bomet branch said that most of the teachers were on temporary terms while some served on contract terms that are renewed every two years.
Kenya has 32,437 public and private primary schools and the number of ECDE centres is way above that of public and private schools because most of them have multiple ECDE centres.
“Unfortunately, the Ministry of Education has since independence not taken the ECDE programme seriously yet it lays the foundation in Education for Kenya children in what has a huge impact on their performance in primary and secondary schools, middle-level colleges and universities,” said Langat.
KNUT officials recommended the Presidential Working Group on Education Reforms led by Professor Raphael Munavu to address the issue.
According to them, there is an ECDE facility associated with both private and governmental schools hence necessitating the requirement for the teachers to be hired and managed by the Teachers Service Commission.
Lentayaa said that most of the centres had unskilled teachers, most of them being volunteers and the majority of the county governments were unconcerned with the quality of education being offered.
There had also been an assertion from some individuals that ECDE teachers are reduced to being just babysitters, especially in play groups before children join pre-primary education (PP1).
Prof Barchok who is an expert in the development of curriculum, said that counties are willing to transfer the teachers to TSC provided recommendations are reviewed and accepted.
According to him the only permanent solution to this problem is for all teachers in the country to be governed by a single commission (TSC).
Prof Barchok who is a former secondary school teacher who became a university lecturer before becoming a politician said that the 47 county governments did not pay ECDE teachers uniform salaries and benefits.
“As much as the ECDE function is a devolved function, there are a lot of disparities in payment of salaries to the teacher by the county governments,” he said.