What you need to know:
- Uasin Gishu governor is revamping the ECDE department under his ‘nguzo ni kumi’ agenda
- He says ECDE teachers have been serving under contracts for a decade and he is focused on addressing their plight
- ECDE teachers in the county petitioned the Senate in May this year to compel the county government to address a raft of issues affecting them
Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii will this Friday employ 1,800 Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teachers, in keeping with his pre-election manifesto, he told Nation.Africa on Tuesday.
Under his ‘nguzo ni kumi’ agenda, he is revamping the ECDE department, which is among his top priorities, and cites the urgent need to improve the tutors’ welfare.
“I want a robust ECDE department and that is why I will employ them under permanent and pensionable terms. They have been serving under contracts for a decade and I am focused on addressing their plight and ensuring the young children are nurtured properly,” he said.
He spoke on Tuesday morning at his office in Eldoret when the Nation Media Group team, led by North Rift Regional Editor Ms Caroline Wafula, paid him a courtesy call.
Governor Bii said he will focus on reviving several collapsed programmes, including ECDE, in his first 100 days in office.
ECDE teachers in May this year asked the Senate to compel the county government to address a raft of issues affecting them, including employment on permanent and pensionable terms, implementation of a scheme of service that captures remuneration, and addressing the un-procedural stoppage of stipends and delays in payment of wages.
The teachers said these issues and lack of commitment by the county government to address them had demoralised them, resulting in poor performance and mass resignations.
They said they were paid a maximum of Sh10,000 per month, although some were hired more than nine years ago.
“Because of the poor welfare faced by the ECDE teachers, a majority of them have resigned and sought work elsewhere despite having trained for the profession. Lack of commitment by the county government to address the issues has aggravated the matter,” said the tutors in their May petition.
Governor Bii said putting them under permanent terms will improve their welfare and commitment to their work.
The governor said another programme that he has already revamped is the dysfunctional revolving fund, which is now operational.
“I have revived the collapsed health revolving fund. In partnership with Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital’s AMPATH, patients will now access affordable drugs. Patients have been suffering and I am happy their burden has been lessened,” he said.
“Within my first 100 days in office, I am optimistic I will achieve a lot, including completing some of the unfinished projects in the county like the sports stadiums.
“Through my ‘nguzo ni kumi’ agenda, we will refine the socioeconomic agenda in the county.”
He will unveil his cabinet on Thursday, after vetting by the county assembly.
The governor also said he is keen to address ethnic hatred that has often surfaced in the county, particularly around election time. Locals are reluctant to invest in decent houses, fearing they will be burnt down in violence.
“We have had a history that in each election cycle there are ethnically motivated skirmishes,” he said.
“I was shocked to learn that there are people who have been living in this county for more than 50 years but are afraid to build decent housing because of ethnic fears around elections.
“This is something that needs attention so that residents can live freely without any fears, regardless of the seasons.”
Ms Wafula congratulated the governor on behalf of NMG on his win, noting that the company is open to partnerships with county governments that enhance community development and serve the best interests of Kenyans.
“As media, we play the important watchdog role in society, and we are keen on partnering to ensure that devolution works for the benefit of Kenyans,” she said.