How Tvets, ECDEs are improving education outcomes in counties

Ganjoni Primary School

Ganjoni Primary School Deputy Head Teacher Sr Nthike Nzevela issues candidates with pencils as the last Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams started on October 30, 2023.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit  | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Murang’a, Tharaka Nithi and Kirinyaga are among counties which scored big on education matters according to a poll by Infotrak.
  • Kericho Governor Erick Mutai pointed to the employment by the county government of 1,135 ECDE teachers as a major achievement.

When Murang’a County announced its budget for the current financial year, early childhood development and education (ECDE) got a massive boost.

The county was ranked number two nationally (60 per cent) after West Pokot which scored 63 per cent. The county was recognised for its efforts to improve ECDEs, provide porridge to 42,000 pupils in ECDE centres and provide bursaries to thousands of students. 

The county has upgraded and equipped 139 ECDE centres.

The county government set aside Sh315 million for the sector, with Sh8 million going towards projects and Sh1 million allocated for bursaries in each of the county’s 35 wards.

“We decided to prioritise ECDE centres as most of them were in poor shape. We will ensure all ECDEs are so good that parents will prefer them to private ones,” Kang’ata said.

But that is not all. The county government is looking at setting aside at least Sh250 million for scholarships in local day schools, financing more ECDE programmes and providing vocational training programmes and short-time artisan courses.

Governor Irungu Kang’ata has also continued funding his predecessor Mwangi wa Iria's Nyota Zetu programme, sponsoring bright children from poor backgrounds to secondary school.

The programme began in 2018 and has been paying full scholarship to 1, 000 needy learners every year.

Training on digital literacy

In Tharaka Nithi County, Education Executive Dorothy Naivasha believes that the sector has greatly improved since 2013, especially ECDE.

She said devolution has been a blessing for the sector, with many children who used to learn under trees now having modern and fully-equipped classrooms. The plan is to ensure that every ECDE centre has a modern classroom and more teachers are employed.

In Kirinyaga, the county is set to roll out information and communication technology (ICT) courses in youth polytechnics to help young people tap into online job opportunities. 

To prepare for the roll, the county has started training tutors who will teach the courses. The first lot of tutors drawn from all the 16 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Tvet) centres have already completed training on digital literacy, digital freelancing and digital marketing.

Murang’a, Tharaka Nithi and Kirinyaga are among counties which scored big on education matters according to a poll by Infotrak released yesterday, which had Central topping other regions. The survey placed West Pokot, a marginalised county, as the top performer in the sector with a performance rating of 63 per cent. The turnaround in the county was pegged on investment in education infrastructure, teacher recruitment, school feeding programmes, advocacy for girls’ education, bursaries and scholarships.

Elgeyo Marakwet and Murang’a followed closely, with other top performers being Kericho, Kwale, Uasin Gishu, Bomet, Vihiga, Nyeri, Trans Nzoia, Embu and Homa Bay with scores of 57 per cent and above.

Kericho Governor Erick Mutai pointed to the employment by the county government of 1,135 ECDE teachers as a major achievement in the education sector in the county.

Milk feeding programme

The teachers earn between Sh29,561 and Sh49,000 monthly, depending on their training backgrounds, putting the county as the highest paying for the teachers.

“The employment on permanent and pensionable terms of the ECDE teachers by the county government is the single biggest achievement for the education sector,” Mr Alfred Rop, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Bureti branch secretary said. The county has also put up 30 modern ECDE classrooms in the six sub-counties, besides building tuition blocks at Kamineiwo, Chepseon and Chemosot Tvet centres and disbursing Sh167 million in bursaries to 4,200 needy students.

In neighbouring Bomet, an ongoing milk feeding programme, initiated in 2021 and targeting 54,000 ECDE centres in the five sub-counties, is geared at retaining learners in the institutions and raising enrolment rates.

The administration of Governor Hillary Barchok has built ECDE centres, equipped Tvets and hired over 1,000 teachers on permanent and pensionable terms. Dr Kiprotich Keter, the chief officer in charge of Education and Vocational Training, said the feeding programme is aimed at boosting children’s nutrition. A similar initiative is being implemented in Uasin Gishu County, where the programme has not only boosted pupil retention but also improved enrolment rates by 8.6 per cent. 

Education Executive Antony Sitienei said the devolved unit is keen on promoting early learners’ education with the county government providing learning materials to all ECDEs, ensuring access to school milk, and employing 1,274 ECDE tutors who were previously on contract terms. 

Reporting by Mwangi Muiruri, Alex Njeru, George Munene, Vitalis Kimutai, Stanley Kimuge and Evans Jaola