MORE than 100 early childhood development education teachers took to the streets of Mombasa town yesterday demanding to be integrated in the mainstream education system.
Chanting slogans, the teachers, most of the women, walked for 10 kilometres from Tononoka grounds to the Treasury Square.
They demanded to be given permanent jobs and be paid better salaries. Mombasa ECD Teachers Welfare Association chairperson Sarah Otieno said: "Despite the many promises by the government of addressing our plight, nothing seems to be coming our way."
"We are here today because we feel devastated with the neglect by the government. We lead a very weird lifestyle yet we are the face behind the shining professors and presidents of this world," said Otieno.
She said the salary they are paid by school boards cannot help them cope with the current hard economic challenges. "If you earn as low as Sh1,000 a month, can you access medical cover or can your child go to an ordinary school? The government should walk the talk and align ECD with the mainstream education system as well absorbing us into the Teachers' Service Commission," said Otieno.
They also wanted to know the whereabouts of the Sh1.6 billion allocated for improving the pre-primary education in the current budget by Finance minister Njeru Githae.
"Where is the money that Githae allocated pre-primary education sector? We want to be told because our patience is wearing thin," said Dorothy Juma, the association's vice-chairperson.
In the 2012/2013 fiscal year, Githae allocated Sh1.6 billion to promote early childhood development, including employment of the pre-primary teachers.
Contacted over the ECDE teacher's quest for improved terms of service, Mombasa county education director Abubakar Kike said the government has no such plans. He said the plan to streamline early childhood education is in the Education Bill 2012 currently before Parliament.