High Sound for Children (HSC), a non-governmental organisation, has urged the government of Uganda to take full control of Early Childhood Education (ECD) in the country to improve its quality.
In a press statement dated January 28, 2019, the organisation’s Executive Director Hadijah Mwanje says whereas the 2007 ECD policy stresses the importance of early childhood education due to its care and training that produces trustworthy, curious and social interaction skillful children, government has done less to improve the sector.
“Programme evaluation and research has demonstrated that high quality ECD programmes enhance the child’s language, emotional, intellectual and social skills which are essential for transitioning well and participating in formal schooling. Children with these skills and experiences are more likely to enroll on time, stay in school and perform well. In the long run, ECD reduces class repetition, school dropouts, and related costs of schooling and overall, increases efficiency in education,” she reveals.
Mwanje also noted that the Education Act 2008 recognises pre-primary education as the first level of education in Uganda and four programs that is to say day care centers, home based centers, community centers and Nursery Schools are recognised. Unfortunately majority of these centers are in the hands of the private sector and below standard.
Findings from the Ministry of Education Assessment Study in 2013 showed that only four out of the 50 institutions inspected were licensed and registered by the ministry. Similarly, 91 per cent of inspected Early Childhood Development Teacher training institutions were not licensed or registered. This is because they fell short on the required standards.
According to Mwanje, they are aware that the Ministry of Education is reviewing the Early Childhood Development policy but the private sector has not been consulted yet.
Meanwhile, the organisation wants government to ensure that all school going children attain education as well monitors pre- primary schools regularly and close those that don’t meet the required standards.
“There is also need to regulate private centers to protect parents from exploitation by schools,” Mwanje urged.