All nursery school teachers will be required to undergo training on how to identify children with special needs and disability early enough.
A new policy by the Ministry of Education on pre-primary education says this will enable the teachers to provide a supportive environment so that every child can achieve optimum physical, cognitive, emotional and social development.
“In spite of the commitments enshrined in legal documents, the child's right to protection and care especially in the childcare facilities and pre-primary is hampered by shortage of appropriate play and learning materials, unsafe learning environment, insecurity and distances to pre-primary centres,” states the policy.
It adds that caregivers and child protection officers have a duty to ensure that every child enjoys their prescribed rights in all settings and are well trained on their various responsibilities.
Speaking during the launch of the policy document in Mombasa on Friday, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said it will offer guidance to all pre-primary education service providers throughout the country.
“The launch of this policy is a critical step towards laying a firm foundation for the education of our children,” Ms Mohamed.
She said the policy will ensure children are better prepared for primary school education and formal education in general under the two-year pre-primary education experience.
“The government will establish model early childhood development centres in five counties from which pre-primary education to provide support to pre-primary education providers,” said the CS.
She said government's recognition and support for Early Childhood Development had led to increased enrolment in pre-primary schools from 2,710, 830 pupils in 2012 to 3,293,813 in 2017.
The number of teachers trained in early childhood education has also risen from 80,526 in 2012 to 106,938 in 2017, said the minister, noting that overall; more than 80 per cent of the pre-primary teachers had been trained.
The Cabinet secretary said the Ministry will continue supporting county governments, by providing central coordination of early childhood education at the Ministry of Education, incorporation of pre-primary education into basic education structure; and integration of pre-primary education into the competency based curriculum.
She said the Ministry will continue supporting county governments, whose mandate is to provide pre-primary education, in addressing some of the challenges facing
Ms Mohamed said the expected quality pre-primary education programmes that the principles and standards the policy spells out will minimise repetition and dropout rates and improved learning capabilities for the learners.