New salaries, allowances to benefit 90,000 ECDE teachers
Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teachers have every reason to smile after the Council of Governors (CoG) finally agreed to implement the Scheme of Service and prepare new salaries and allowances for the teachers effective July this year. The decision was reached during the Council of Governors’ meeting held on December 20, 2021.
During the meeting, the Council discussed the ECDE function and resolved that the CoG Secretariat will share with all the County governments the approved ECDE Teachers Scheme of Service. The council also resolved that governors should consider providing additional resources in the 2022/23 Financial Year , which begins in July this year, for the implementation of the Scheme of Service. The resolution is a major win for teachers under their Union, the Kenya Union of Pre- Primary Education Teachers (KUNOPPET) which has been pushing for the implementation of the Scheme of Service since it was drafted in January 2018.
The council’s new salary recommendations will see the basic salary of ECDE teachers being increased as per their qualifications and harmonized across all counties. The council’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms. Mary Mwiti, through a letter dated January 5, 2022, asked all County Executive Committee Members in charge of finance and education as well as county secretaries to use the approved Scheme of Service when recruiting new ECDE teachers, currently referred to as pre-primary teachers under the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).
“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to forward to you the ECDE Teachers Scheme of Service to guide the recruitment and career progression of preprimary teachers for implementation,” read the letter in part. Currently, ECDE teachers are being remunerated and employed under different terms of service with various counties giving them raw deals since there is no formal engagement between the counties and the teachers.
The glaring pay disparities and non-observance of Scheme of Service has been a centre of conflict between the teachers through their Union and various county governments, which have at times ended up in court battles. Many counties currently pay their ECDE teachers between Sh.10,000 to Sh.20,000 monthly, others are paid below Sh.10,000 per month, while few counties pay their teachers above Sh.20,000 per month.
Under the new salary structure, ECDE teachers who are certificate holders at Job Group ‘F’ will be earning a basic monthly salary of Sh.16,250; Diploma holders at Job Group ‘H’ will be earning Sh.27,195 while Degree holders at Job Group ‘K’ will be earning Sh.3,994 as basic monthly salary. Apart from the basic monthly salary, teachers will enjoy housing allowance which will vary between Sh.2,700 to Sh.16,500 depending on one’s Job Group and their station of work and commuter allowance of Sh.3,000 for certificate holders (Job Group F), Sh.4,000 for diploma holders (Job Group H) and Sh.5,000 for degree holders (Job Group K) across all counties.
Each county will be pay varying amounts of pension to teachers according to their qualifications and Job Group under the new salary structure. Considering the above elements, an ECDE teacher who is a certificate holder in Makueni County will be the highest paid since the gross salary will be Sh.24,387 followed by their counterparts in Nairobi with a gross salary of Sh.23,750. On the other hand, diploma and degree holders in Nairobi will be the highest paid with Sh.37,945 and Sh.55,494 respectively.
An economic survey report released in 2021 by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) revealed that there were 29,148 registered public pre-primary schools as at 2020 and 95,241 ECDE teachers (15,584 male and 79,657 female). The total enrollment of pupils in the public pre-primary schools as at 2020 was 2,832,897, which comprised of 1,436,924 boys and 1,395,973 girls. Though the move to implement the Scheme of Service was a welcome relief to KUNOPPET, the new salary structure does not factor in promotions.
KUNOPPET secretary general Mr. Samuel Opiyo told Education News that they would engage the relevant stakeholders and authorities to address the issue of promotion. “The new structure somehow implies that an employee will stagnate in that salary for ever. As a Union, we must engage the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and Council of Governors (GoG) so as to address the aspect of promotion.” Opiyo said.
According to the approved Schemes of Service, teachers have been placed under six(6) grades of Assistant ECDE Teachers at Certificate level, six (6) grades of ECDE Teachers at Diploma level and seven (7) grades of ECDE Teachers at Graduate level. At certificate level, the six cadres of teachers established are: Assistant ECDE Teacher III, II and I allocated in new Job Groups of F, G and H and Senior Assistant ECDE Teacher III, II and I allocated in Job Groups J, K and L.
At diploma level, the six (6) cadres of teachers the scheme established are: ECDE Teacher III, II and I at Job Groups H, J and K respectively and Senior ECDE Teacher III, II and I at Job Groups L, M and N respectively.
At Graduate level, the scheme established seven (7) cadres of teachers: Graduate ECDE Teachers III, II and I who are placed under Job Groups K, L and M respectively, Principal Graduate ECDE Teacher II, Principal Graduate ECDE Teacher I (Assistant Director), Senior Principal Graduate ECDE Teacher (Deputy Director) and Chief Principal Graduate ECDE Teacher (Director) placed under Job Groups N, P, Q and R respectively.
The grades of Assistant ECDE Teacher III (Job Group F) and Assistant ECDE Teacher II – Job Group G, who are certificate holders, will be Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) mean grade of D+ (plus); while those of Assistant ECDE Teacher II (Job Group G) and Assistant ECDE Teacher I (Job Group H) ,who are also Certificate holders , could be KCSE mean grade of C (plain).
The ECDE Teacher III (Job Group H) and ECDE Teacher II (Job Group J), both Diploma holders and Graduate ECDE Teacher III (Job Group K) and Graduate ECDE Teacher II (Job Group L) formed a common establishment for the purpose of the scheme.
The entry into the service will be through direct appointments, notably in the grades of Assistant ECDE Teacher III (Certificate Level, Job Group F), Assistant ECDE Teacher II (Job Group G), ECDE Teacher III (Diploma Level, Job Group H) and Graduate ECDE Teacher III (Job Group K) provided that a candidate has the minimum basic qualifications prescribed for the grade in the Scheme of Service.
Advancement from one grade to another will depend on the existence of a vacancy in the authorised establishment, merit and ability as reflected in work performance and results. It will also depend on the approval of the County Public Service Board (CPSB) and after the teacher has served three years in the previous Grade.
So far, it’s not clear whether or not the newly proposed salary structures captured the promotion aspect. The recognized qualifications under the scheme will now be : Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) mean grade of D+ (Plus) or KCE division IV, KCSE minimum grade of C (Plain) from Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) or its recognized equivalent, certificate in ECDE offered by KNEC or Ministry of Education or its approved equivalent, Proficiency Certificate in ECDE offered by KNEC and a Diploma in ECDE offered by KNEC or its approved equivalent.
Other qualifications are: a Degree in ECDE offered by any accredited institution of higher learning or its approved equivalent, a Masters of Education Degree in ECDE or any other relevant Masters in Education from a recognized institution of higher learning or university, and a Certificate in Computer Applications. The scheme demands that serving ECDE teachers should adopt the designations provided in the Schemes of Service.
They must also possess the minimum qualifications stipulated in the scheme for the present grades. In the recent past, ECDE teachers opposed direct employment by the county governments and asked to be transferred to TSC.
They accused the counties of poorly managing pre-primary education centres since they have a lot of resources meant for ECDE centres but they cannot handle teachers. The scheme was aimed at providing a well refined career structure that will attract and retain suitably qualified and competent ECDE teachers in the service, and well-defined job descriptions and specifications with clear delineation of duties and responsibilities at all levels within the career structure to ensure proper deployment and utilization of ECDE teachers.
In addition, the scheme was to establish standards for recruitment, training and advancement on the basis of qualifications, knowledge of the job, merit and ability as reflected in work performance and results; and to ensure appropriate career planning and succession management.