Counties on the spot for hiring unqualified teachers for ECDE

From left Dr. Eng. Robert Juma Wamalwa giving remarks during the Kenya Creative Learning Symposium in Mombasa, Assistant Director of Education Alice Nyakiongora, Senir Technical Advisor Basic Education, Education Practice at IREX Sarah Bever and Ag Deputy Director Kenya School of Government Cecelia Mageto./COURTESY

Counties have been put on the spot for hiring unqualified teachers to teach in Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE).

Speaking during the first Kenya Creative Learning Symposium in Mombasa, Dr. Eng. Robert Juma Wamalwa, a member of the Presidential Working Committee on Education Reforms, said some counties were not giving ECDE the seriousness it deserves.

“That is the reason you will find dilapidated infrastructure, they are lacking resources, teachers are not well-trained because they go and hand-pick unqualified individuals who are not even trained, do not have the right skills to train learners,” said Dr. Eng. Wamalwa.

Dr. Wamalwa says this has harmed learners where what is needed is a 21st century learner, 21st century educator, and 21st century classroom.

He said for learners to gain 21st Century skills they need broad-based foundational learning which cannot be taught by unqualified educators.

“Foundational learning encompasses the literacy, numeracy, and transferrable skills. When you talk of literacy and numeracy, at the moment, you can find a 10-year-old who cannot read or can read but cannot understand the statement in any way,” said Dr. Wamalwa.

“So literacy is very low, numeracy is also low, transferrable skills are not there because he cannot solve any problem. He is not creative in any way because of the educator,” he added.

Current Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) educators should also be retooled/retrained to gain skills on how to handle and equip learners with the right skills for the future.

In terms of infrastructure, the 21st century classroom should have the equipment to help the learners undergo experiential learning whereby he develops the psychomotor skills that will help them practice what they have learned inside the classroom.

“The CBC curriculum is learner-centered. So both the trainer and learner are in class learning together. The educator is also learning,” he said.

“The 21st century educator is likened to a football coach who trains players but still has to watch them during matches to learn the strengths and weaknesses of both his team and opponents. Same thing in the classroom, so you are training but do not know what you are going to face,” Dr. Wamalwa.

Dr. Wamalwa has called on counties to ensure that they invest in ECDE, saying equipping learners with the right skills will help them earn a living in the future.

He said the key tenets for implementing CBC i.e. Value Based Education, Community Service Learning, and Pertinent Contemporary Issues cannot be achieved with underqualified educators.

“In the Pertinent Contemporary Issues, we are looking at issues that emerge along the way. How will they be able to solve those issues when they have not been taken through the right course?” he posed.

In education, if the foundation is weak then the casualty is always the student. This is always seen when the learner is grown and has no skills thus leading to unemployment or even crime.