Kenya’s pre-primary plan to help children succeed at school

Kenya Pre Primary Education 1
Having a pre-primary education can have a significant impact on a child’s future prospects (Faith Ocharo / Theirworld)

Early childhood development

Children who get a pre-primary education are much better prepared to move on to primary and secondary school.

It helps children aged three and over with cognitive and social skills such as early reading and mathematics, and social interaction.

With this in mind, Kenya has launched a national pre-primary education policy. Education Secretary Amina Mohamed said it will reduce children repeating classes or dropping out of school and increase learning outcomes.

Early childhood development centres will be set up in five counties. And all pre-primary education teachers will be trained in how to spot children with disabilities and special needs to give them the help they require.

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Mohamed said the Jubilee Alliance government had put more emphasis on early childhood development and enrolment in pre-primary education had increased from 2.7 million in 2012 to 3.3 million in 2017 (77% of eligible children).

At the launch in Mombasa, she added: “This policy is a critical step towards laying a firm foundation for the education of our children.”

Mohamed said the national policy means the education ministry will offer guidances to pre-primary services, which are run by Kenya’s counties.

Meanwhile in the country’s capital Nairobi, 13,000 children will benefit from a free early childhood development and education programme.

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Early childhood development is essential for under-fives to fulfil their potential

Nairobi City Governor Mike Sonko presented cheques for the 205 public centres in the city, saying: “This is a big milestone in education that will have a positive impact for years to come.”

Theirworld has been campaigning for all countries to spend at least 10% of their education budget on pre-primary education.

Pre-primary education programmes offer the highest returns on investments and provide the best chance to level the playing field for those children most likely to be left behind.

Donors need to do more too to help pre-primary education in developing countries –  it currently gets less than 1% of education aid.

  • Theirworld’s #5for5 campaign and our work on early childhood development is supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

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