Struggles of ECDE Teachers: Underpaid and Overworked, Says Lobby

In a stark revelation, the Kenya Union of Pre-Primary Education Teachers (KUNOPPET) chairman, Lawrence Otunga, has shed light on the plight of Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teachers, describing them as underpaid and overworked. Speaking passionately on Tuesday, Otunga criticized the management of ECDE in most counties, emphasizing the need for urgent changes in the sector.

“Teachers who are handling the young learners are undermined, underpaid, and overworked,” Otunga stated, drawing attention to the challenging conditions faced by ECDE educators. He expressed dissatisfaction with the management practices in most counties, characterizing them as terrible. In a bold move, Otunga voiced support for the recommendations of a task force proposing the transfer of ECDE teachers to the national government.

The call for reform comes in the wake of the Council of Governors (COG) rejecting recommendations from the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms. The proposal suggested transferring the management of ECDE from the county level to the national government. However, the COG, through its Education committee chairperson, Eric Mutai, argued that these recommendations undermined the constitutional framework and, consequently, refused to participate in any legislative process related to them.

Lawrence Otunga, in a press conference on Sunday, expressed his concerns regarding the COG’s rejection of the recommendations. He questioned the legal standing of the COG as a group of employers, asserting that matters concerning education should be left to experts, and their interests should not conflict with public interests.

Adding their voice to the discourse, the Kenya Union of Teachers (Knut) also criticized the COG’s opposition to embracing changes. Knut urged county chiefs to prioritize the interests of children over political considerations, emphasizing the need for a collaborative effort to address the challenges faced by ECDE teachers.

The battle for the rights and well-being of ECDE teachers continues, with the spotlight now on the need for urgent reforms to improve their working conditions, compensation, and overall job satisfaction. As stakeholders engage in this crucial debate, the hope is to create a more supportive and conducive environment for those responsible for shaping the educational foundation of young learners.

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