Already more than 100 government Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centers are non-operational due to the lack of facilitators, and now, many ECCD facilitators have resigned for Australia and other third countries, which will further have an impact on the centers and young children across the country.
The lack of ECCD facilitators has been an issue faced by the whole country for a long time. Due to a lack of budget, recruiting facilitators has been on hold for a while. However, there have been numerous discussions between Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) on recruiting ECCD facilitators.
One of the ECCD facilitators shared that she has been working as a facilitator in her community for seven years, and she was the first to initiate an ECCD center in her community supported by Save the Children.
She said that being a single mother, she is responsible for providing a safer and brighter future for her son who is in class X but with only Nu 16,000 monthly salary, it is hard for her and her son to survive in the future.
Similarly, there are a few facilitators from various ECCD centers who have already left or have resigned and shared similar stories.
An official from the SEN and ECCD Department of the ministry shared that most of the government ECCD facilitators are trained and have a diploma in childcare and for them to get an advanced diploma in Australia is easy.
“Well, we are happy that these ECCD facilitators will have advanced diplomas or masters in early child care and development, and they can become ECCD’s professors and lecturers upon completion,” said the official.
Although the exact figures are unknown, however, many ECCD facilitators have left their jobs, and this might bring challenges to recruiting their replacements. Hopefully, starting of the new year, all the ECCD centers will have facilitators. Most of the government ECCD facilitators are class XII passed out with diploma in early child care and development while a few are graduates.
Meanwhile, the government has accorded significant attention to early childcare development. The 1,000 golden days plus program under the health ministry and the ECCD services in the education ministry were proposed as ideal models of childcare from conception to formal education.
The ECCD program caters to children aged between three to five years. Around 10,872 children are enrolled in ECCD centers across the country. Over the last few years, 137 new ECCD centers have been established.
However, the lack of adequate facilitators continues to pose an issue. It would be easy for the government to recruit anyone as a facilitator, but the government’s intention is to provide professional ECCD facilitators specializing in childcare with knowledge of psychosocial needs, first aid and nutritional requirements.
For now, the education ministry offers basic training at the beginning of the year to the newly recruited ECCD facilitators.
Similarly, parents, school principals and district education officers have also been trained on quality monitoring tools and ensuring quality care at the ECCD centers.