05:58 am - Wednesday 21 November 2018

Government to develop early childhood centers

By Amalawi - Wed Oct 23, 10:56 am

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Malawi: Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare has stressed the importance of having Early Childhood Centres (ECD) saying they help improve education standards in the country.

Principal Secretary in the ministry, Dr Mary Shawa made the remarks during the launch of the National Early Childhood Development (ECD) Awareness Week which was launched at Chimwemwe Community Based Childcare Centre in Pinji Village, Traditional Authority (TA) Kaphuka in Dedza district.

The awareness week is this year targeting religious leaders in order to sensitise them on ECD importance.

“Among our planned activities we are this year targeting religious leaders in order to sensitise them on importance of investing in the ECD programme,” said Shawa.

The ministry will mobilize and sensitise at least 160 religious leaders countrywide and sensitise them at regional level.

Shawa said so far there are 970 centres in Malawi reaching out to just one third of children which is about 1, 000, 500 children. As such, she encouraged parents to send their children to ECD centres.

UNICEF Representative, Mahimbo Mdoe congratulated the Malawi government for making enormous strides in the development of ECD.

However, Mdoe bemoaned the low ECD uptake saying a lot needs to be done in order to reach out to as many children as possible.

“Children’s access to ECD service is still very low in Malawi and as such we request that all options are explored in order to scale up the expansion of ECD services to reach 70% by 2014,” said Mdoe.

Currently, ECD services stand at 38%.

Dedza District Commissioner, Sphiwe Mauwa, said the district Council and the District Social Welfare Office is working hand in hand with other stakeholders such as World Vision, Save the Children and Action Aid to make sure that ECD issues in the district are given the much needed support.

Malawi is observing ECD this year’s week under the theme ‘Children are the future: Invest in early Childhood development.’

This is the second year that the country is observing ECD week.

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