NKURENKURU - The provision of Early Childhood Development (ECD) services at five centres in the Kavango West region received a boost with newly constructed modern facilities on Friday.
The ECD facilities include classrooms, ablution facilities, offices, storerooms and kitchens, and were constructed for N$4.1 million with funding from the European Union (EU)- through the 11th European Development Fund - towards the Namibian education sector.
At the inauguration of the facilities, the gender equality, poverty eradication and social welfare minister Doreen Sioka expressed gratitude to the EU for investing in education, particularly in the ECD programmes, for the proper development of children.
The minister opined that children who are exposed to ECD services are more successful at school, and are unlikely to drop out.
“ECD provides a very critical window of opportunity for the holistic development of a child. This developmental stage is between conception and the age of eight years,” Sioka stated.
She said this is because a child’s brain develops faster during this period, and interventions which address children’s needs should start as early as possible if they are to reach their full potential.
She highlighted some of her ministry’s efforts aimed at delivering improved ECD programmes and services, such as developing an Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) framework for action to improve collaboration in the delivery of inclusive and holistic ECD services; having put in place a curriculum for the three to four-year-old children, which is linked to the education ministry’s curriculum for pre-primary education for smooth transition between the two stages; and them being in the process of finalising the curriculum for zero to two-year-olds, among others.
Sioka thus called on parents to prioritise their children’s education, and to value and maintain their wellbeing, especially when they are young and most vulnerable.
“I want to further appeal to the parents in Ncamagoro and the rest of the constituencies across the Kavango West region to ensure that all children from zero to four years are enrolled at ECD centres near them,” she noted.
Turning to the educarers, she urged them to take good care of children enrolled at the centres, while using appropriate teaching and learning practices and methods.
“Educarers are ‘in loco parentis,’ and this simply means that in the absence of children’s parents, you are their parents. Therefore, parents and the community at large entrust their children under your care,” she said.
She also encouraged them to work closely with the parents to instill good discipline and respect among children, and for them to be God-fearing as she believes this will result in a country that is free of crimes and gender-based violence.
Sioka then assured the educarers of the ministry’s support, particularly in terms of training and capacity strengthening so that they can effectively work with children.
The five ECD centres are Ncamagoro, Ausiku Lucas Pembona, Mushumpuko, Sivara and Ervin Mazambo.