Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) globally and Kenya in particular has been recognized as a crucial programme that lays a foundation for a child’s holistic and integrated education that meets the cognitive, social, moral, spiritual, emotional, physical and developmental needs. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the current issues facing ECDE in Kenya. Currently, ECDE is under the care of parents, community, non-governmental organizations (NGO), religious organizations and other private providers (MOEST, 2005). This paper is based on the premise as stipulated in the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declaration on Education for All (EFA) by 2015. Early Childhood Development Education being the first formal agent of socialization (Kibera & Kimokoti, 2007) calls the attention of all stakeholders to critically address the challenges related to issues of access, equity, quality and relevance of ECDE programmes. However, the private sector seems to have monopolized most of the ECDE centers compared to the government. Thus, the public education sector opportunities for ECDE are lacking, yet available data shows that at later formal education i.e primary schools, public education cater for well over 90% of Kenya’s school going age. This paper therefore puts into question why the public education sector is missing out in this very important domain of education in its children at this tender age. To address the aforementioned issues, this paper is guided by the following research questions: What are the current challenges facing ECDE? What are the short and long term implications to the educational formation of the learners? How can this situation be improved? Literature informing this paper has been sourced from a content analysis approach of various documents from library search, online sources and Ministry of Education- Kenya documents i.e. Sessional Papers. Initial findings show that ECDE is currently facing challenges related to the following: funding, policy formulation, low participation rates of target age groups including special learners, lack of curriculum content informed by research based data, inadequate qualified educators, lack of schemes of service for educators, rising number of orphans, conflict in medium of instruction among others. Further, of importance to note is that authors of this paper also feel that lack of practical approaches to inform the parents and lack of the Ministry of Education’s funding and implementation initiatives further complicates the provision of ECDE. Following an analysis of the current scenario in ECDE, the authors recommend MOE reform programmes should be informed by systematic policy research and analyses informed by research, inclusion in terms gender, social economic status (SES) among others. Further, educational policy makers and managers should be educationists with reputable professional and experience records.
Rosane Cavalcante Fragoso, Brasil
Chief Scientific Officer and Head of a Research Group
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