Members of Parliament on Wednesday called on the Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Dr. Jean Kalirani, to consider increasing the amount of allocation towards the Early Childhood Development Programme.
The call was made after Member of Parliament for Kasungu South East, Khumbize Chiponda asked the Minister to explain what the private sector is doing to promote Early Childhood Development activities in the country.
“Madam First Deputy Speaker, I just want to know from the minister as to what the private sector is doing to contribute to government efforts in improving Early Childhood Development in the country,” said Chiponda.
Another Member of Parliament for Balaka West, Shanil Dzimbiri, said the K3 million allocated to each constituency was not enough to carry out ECD services for the children.
In response to the MPs’ concerns, Kalirani said her ministry was aware of the challenges facing ECD centres, saying the issue was being discussed to see how best the problem could be addressed.
“My Ministry is trying to mobilize more funding to ensure that ECD centres are established in most of the constituencies in the country,” she said.
Kalirani further said ECD centres are crucial in the growth of pre-primary children, hence the need to work collectively to find ways of establishing such centres across the country.
However, some parliamentarians suggested that ECD pre-school children be done by primary school teachers. But Kalirani said this would not be possible because the current teacher to pupil ratio for primary schools is already big.
On another note, the minister called on young parents to ensure proper protection and stimulation of their children.