The number of nursery schools across the country keeps growing every year. This would be a positive development if the proprietors of these schools were out to actually make the children learn and prepare them for primary and other levels of education.
Unfortunately, many nursery schools are out to make quick money. In the process, many of the guidelines set by the Ministry of Education are abused. This, coupled with lack of inspection from the relevant authorities, the schools are not held to account.
Consequently, parents are not given value for money as their children benefit little, if at all, during the two or three years spent at pre-primary centres.
Yet the early childhood development policy by the National Curriculum Development Centre approved in 2007, stresses the importance of Early Childhood Education (ECD); the early stimulation of different parts of the brain to provide social and learning advancement throughout life. Such care does not produce a self-centered child, rather a child who trusts, is curious, strives to learn new things and is skillful in social interaction.
It is also stated that care should be taken in handling children at this stage because any mistake made may have a lasting impact on the learner. All stakeholders should play their role in ensuring proper childhood development.
The Daily Monitor of February 26, published a story: ‘Nursery centres not doing the right thing -official’ in which Ms Kedrace Turyagyenda, the director of educational standards at the Ministry of Education, says many early childhood development centres, teach Primary One syllabus and deprive the children of the ability to learn what is appropriate for their age.
She said some of these centres start operations without clearance from the authorities hence they lack minimum required standards. The danger in this is that children are cheated of a good start in their education by such centres.
It might be difficult to monitor all nursery schools across the country, but there must be a working policy in place that holds them accountable to make sure they follow the ministry’s set guidelines.
It is also important that we emphasise investment in early child education as this forms the foundation for a child’s development and formal learning process.
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