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Sonko to pay Sh3k to every pre-school learner. Is it necessary?

At least 13,000 pupils in Nairobi are set to benefit from free Early Childhood Education (ECD) after levies in all 205 public centres were scrapped.

Governor Mike Sonko, while launching the free pre-school programme, said every child will be allocated a capitation of Sh3,815.

He said the move was meant to ensure children enjoy access to good elementary education irrespective of where they were born.

‘BIG DAY FOR EDUCATION’

“Today is a big day for education in the county of Nairobi. We come together to celebrate an important milestone when I fulfil one of my key election pledges- to improve the quality of education in the city, and make it accessible for all children,” said Mr Sonko while presenting cheques for the 13,848 children.

Some nursery schools charge as much as Sh10,000 per term.

As a result, many parents chose to take their children to non-formal schools, some of which lack basic facilities.

The programme is expected to increase enrollment from the current 15,295 children to about 17,000 children by the close of the year.

To cater for this increase, Mr Sonko said his government has finalised plans to employ an extra 520 ECD teachers.

“With free ECD in Nairobi, the capital city is ahead of other counties in looking after the needs of our nursery school children,” he said.

BARRIER TO EDUCATION

The United Nations Agency for Education (UNESCO) has classified fees and levies as the leading barrier to education access.

Governor Sonko has, however, warned that the provision of the free ECD budget should not be an avenue for people to misuse the funds.

“I want to see strict and transparent steps taken to ensure these funds are used for the intended purpose. Make no mistake. Anyone who misuses money set aside for ECD will be arrested and prosecuted,” he warned.

He said all schools must open bank accounts with appointed centre managers as the signatories.

“Head teachers of the primary schools and a representative of the parents must also be signatories,” said Mr Sonko.

At the same time he said his administration will procure furniture for public primary schools, and no child transiting to Standard One will be required to pay for a desk.