Governors want Sh4b for ECDE programme
Eric Wainaina @EWainaina
Governors are demanding at least Sh4 billion annually from the national government to supplement their respective budgets for the Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE).
In a statement to the Senate, the Council of Governors (CoG) proposes that the State releases a computation of Sh2,292 per learner annually to facilitate the implementation of the basic education curriculum framework.
Considering that last year the enrollment of ECDE learners was approximately 1.7 million, and with the pupils studying for two years before graduating to primary, their population is likely to be over 3.5 million every given year.
“Due to inadequate resources, there have been proposals on ECDE financing towards the implementation of the Basic Education Curriculum Framework.
An annual capitation grant was proposed to a tune of Sh2.292 per learner,” the governors told the Senate.
The money, according to CoG, should be in the form of grants to supplement the Sh17.2 billion which counties intend to allocate to the programme, bringing the total cost of ECDE to approximately Sh25.2 billion per year.
“There is need for the establishment of a conditional grant to augment existing resources by the counties, similar to the Vocational Training Centres Conditional Grant.
This grant will strengthen existing interventions by the counties towards the improvement of services at the ECDE Centres,” the governors submitted.
County bosses are proposing that each child spends Sh7,372 annually split between meals, staff and maintenance, learning resources, environment and sanitation, teaching and learning aids, science and applied technology, teacher guides and stationary.
In the last Financial Year, 29 counties invested Sh1.117 billion on school feeding programmes to support a million learners, the governors stated.
For instance, Nairobi spent Sh22 million on milk programme on 24,777 learners while Turkana spent Sh195 million on food for 109, 000 children.
Mombasa on the other hand utilised Sh144 million on milk and food rations for 32,000 pupils while Murang’a spent Sh108 million on milk and porridge for 40,000 learners.
Some 18 counties are currently adopting community led initiatives for ECDE school feeding programmes to ensure sustainability, the governors said in the statement.
Enrollment in ECDE centres, the Senate was told, has increased gradually by 6 percent between 2013 and 2016 from 3 million in 2013 to 3.1 million in 2016 while the number of public centres increased by 14.5 percent from 24,767 in 2013 to 28,383 in 2019.
“This is attributed to the inclusion of ECDE as a mandatory level of learning in the Basic Education Act of 2014 and increased demand for pre-primary education,” the statement.
However, enrolment declined from 3.3 million learners in 2018 to 2.7 million learners in 2019, reflecting a 19 percent decline.
This was attributed to the full adoption of the Competency Based Curriculum from the 2018 Academic Year and the redundancy of the three-tier Baby Class, Nursery and Pre-Unit system under the now-defunct 8-4-4 curriculums.
“Furthermore, the Gross Enrolment Rate for ECDE rose from 71.6 per cent in 2013 to 78.4 per cent in 2019,” the governors said.