Friday, 05 February 2021 15:45

LEARNING IN ECDE CENTERS POST COVID-19: WHAT NOW?

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School children at Early Childhood Development and Education ECDE centres across the counties are in urgent need of face masks for safe learning. An assessment spearheaded by the Council of Governors COG in a number of counties, revealed an urgent need for over 1 million masks for the millions of learners at these centres. The assessment visits were held in Meru, Isiolo,Laikipia,Nyeri,Nakuru, Uasin Gishu,Elgeyo Marakwet,Trans Nzoia,Kisumu, Nyamira,Nandi,Kisii and Homabay Counties between 11th and 22nd January 2021.
This followed the reopening of the centres after 10 months of closure due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The suspension of learning in all educational institutions affected 18 million learners across the country, including 2.73 million early childhood learners and 135,550 trainees in County ECDE and Vocational Training Centres respectively.
The Ministry of Education directed the reopening of all learning institutions on January 4th 2021 under tight Covid 19 health and safety protocols. COG embarked on an assessment of the implementation of measures towards safe learning by respective County Governments. The visits sought to also establish compliance by the ECDE Centres to the Guidelines on Safe Reopening and Resumption of Learning. A data collection and assessment tool was employed in identifying best practices and local solutions towards the safe reopening of the Centres.
The visits were coordinated by the County Directors in charge of ECDE through the County Executive Committee Members CECMs in charge of Education. The assessment sampled two ECDE Centres per County. A total of 32 County Early Childhood Development & Education Centres in 12 Counties were assessed.
The data analysis revealed that 79.02% of the learners that had enrolled at the public ECDE centres in January 2020 resumed learning. This represents 1,407,674 learners out of 1,781,416 learners that had registered at the beginning of last year. Additionally, 28,887 Centres out of 29,130 County ECDE Centres across all 47 Counties representing 99.17% of all public ECDE Centres reopened for learning. Further, 74.2% of all learners in public ECDE Centres have reported to school with facemasks. This represents 1,321,810 learners enrolled in County ECDE Centres, however, 84% of all learners in public ECDE Centres need age-appropriate facemasks. This accounts for the need for 1,505,526 facemasks for learners in public ECDE Centres
Counties may now engage the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to track the children who have not resumed learning. Sensitization fora will be ideal in enlightening parents on the revised 2020/2021 academic calendar. Regular provision of clean running water across the counties remain a huge challenge hampering hand washing and sanitation. The centres also require the development and dissemination of child-friendly IEC materials. This can be achieved by building the capacity of ECDE teachers on the Competency Based Curriculum and developing a tracking matrix of all resource needs by the affected County ECDE Centres.

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