Government this week said it will provide at least Shs100 billion to kick-start implementation of the delayed Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) beginning 2019.
A government official reportedly said ECDE will be compulsory in all schools where at least 100 children between the ages of 3 and 5 will be included in the programme for every school; from baby, middle and upper classes.
This is an area government had for long ignored yet developing a child’s brain needs to begin early.
Currently, pre-primary education in the country is provided by the private sector. True, the private sector has been doing a noble job of filling the gap government had abandoned, which is key in the learning/teaching process.
However, with no common curricular and organised syllabi, and no regulation, the content imparted to infants at this level, which has been done by private schools, is bound to be haphazard and sometimes with no clear direction about the intended learning outcomes.
The private sector is more profit driven and may not pay attention to the nitty-gritty of a curriculum intended for this level, yet a child’s learning mind is best captured and set during the formative years (stage).
And if there is any ideal you wish to inculcate in the young mind, the prime time is when the learner is young, experiencing everything for the first time.
So the intervention by government at this time, though late, is commendable to include in its education planning a component that kick-starts the all-round acquisition of structured knowledge at this level that would become a bedrock and foundation of a person and a nation.
The major problem though with such government programmes is that they run into trouble during execution, sometimes because of the endemic graft or infrastructure constraints or the lukewarm will from government to push through its agenda.
Consequently, the would-be good programme begins to suffer budget cuts, forcing the project to struggle.
So the success of Early Childhood Development Education largely will rest with the government commitment to sustain this good effort in trying to nurture the foundation of any society, the children.
When ECDE succeeds, it will buttress Universal Primary Education and the ripple effort will be felt at secondary school level too.