2 February 2010

Kenya: Early Pre-School Education Overstraining Children

The emerging trend where children as young as two years are woken up as early as 5.00 am to go to school might lead to a generation of uneducated, irresponsible people, the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) secretary-general, Fr Vincent Wambugu has said.

He feels that parents are not only over-burdening their children, but have also abdicated their roles as parents.

"They are dumping their vulnerable children to teachers yet they can't tell which teacher has good or loose morals," he said.

He said that when parents take part in the upbringing of their child at this tender age, they can note and correct bad behaviours early in life.

Fr Wambugu also said that Kenyans need to go back to their roots where "the child belonged to the community. Those days, a neighbour could discipline a child they found misbehaving. Today, you try that and you are served with court summons by the parents."

"The notion that the child belongs to the husband and wife should be changed, we need to stop embracing western cultures," he added.

In Kenya, pre-school education which caters for children between the ages of three and five years, is not compulsory, hence attendance is not a prerequisite for joining class one.

The government has failed to shield young children from the exploitative education system. And the Early Childhood Development (ECD) policy developed in 2006 does not provide clear guidelines on education for pre-school children.

Kenya is fourth in Africa with only Mauritius, Namibia and Ghana also having a higher proportion of children receiving ECD services.

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