Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) executive director, Benedicto Kondowe, has taken a swipe at government for their failure to organize Early Child Education(ECD).
Kondowe says it is unfortunate to note that the ECD program is being moved from one ministry to another and without policy direction.
“Currently, government has no powers to close any unregistered or dilapidated ECD Centres because they have no mandate to do so,” says Kondowe.
Kondowe says currently, most ECD Centers are still being housed in the grass thatched structures.
Early childhood from conception to eight years according to Kondowe, is a time of immense growth and development for the infant and young child.
“This is the time when the structure of the brain is formed and physical growth is growing most rapidly, this is the time when emotional connections are made and the blue print for language is
developing,” Said Kondowe.
Malawi, like most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, experienced a proliferation of privately-owned preschools in the last two decades, many of them located in urban areas. In a country where half the population lives on less than 32 US cents a day, these schools were simply beyond the reach of most Malawians. The HIV and AIDS pandemic also left an army of children without access to early childhood care, overstretching the capacities of social welfare officers.
In 2013, UNICEF helped Malawi government to draft a national policy on early child development . A five-year plan was subsequently developed to improve the quality of services provided by the Community Based Child Centres – CBCCs.
UNICEF has since helped the Government to develop a syllabus, training manuals, a caregivers’ guide which have been used to train the volunteer teachers and caregivers. UNICEF has also recently funded an inventory to ascertain the number of CBCCs in the country and the quality of care provided.