Educationists in Nyeri County are struggling to unravel the causes of declining enrolment of children in Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres.
The poor enrolment in the centres which ideally provide children with a strong foundation to anchor their future learning and life development has rattled educationists who are now calling for a comprehensive audit to establish causes and explore avenues to reverse the trend.
As a result of the low enrolment, facilities in a number of ECD centres across the county are underutilized and teachers left idle.
Nyeri County Director of Education, Jarred Obiero recently told a service delivery committee meeting that the declining enrolment was being reflected in the diminishing number of pupils transiting from EDCs to lower primary education.
Obiero said a number of ECD centres have been closed owing to low enrolment and expressed concerns that the trend would have serious repercussions if not reversed.
Area County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia painted a gloomy picture of the state of affairs when he told the committee that owing to low enrolment in ECDs, some local primary schools have unsustainable number of pupils.
Shisia said some parents especially in parts of Mathira constituency, the worst affected by the declining enrolment in primary schools were toying with the idea of converting some of the moribund institutions into secondary schools.
“We as education stakeholders need to engage the political leadership in this county and have a conversation on this matter,” said the county chief.
Members of the committee were unanimous that the future of Nyeri County as the second wealthiest devolved unit nationally, appears bleak if concerted efforts are not put in place to address challenges dogging the education sector.
The members felt that the low enrolment in ECDs was a reflection of a society that was bearing fewer children, an import that would have grave socio-economic and political ramifications in future.
“Politics/leadership is about numbers. Even disbursement of funds from the national government to counties is pegged on population among other factors. If we are not careful, we may be disadvantaged owing to the dwindling population,” noted the members.