The Association of Early Childhood Development in Malawi (AECDM) has bemoaned the poor conditions of buildings used as classrooms for Early Childhood Development (ECD) lessons saying this negatively affects the programme.
In a statement released today, AECDM executive directors, Archie Malisita said most of the buildings are characterised by poor ventilation, dusty rooms and poor lighting.
Said Malisita: “The buildings in which children learn are poor and
inadequate. Many are dilapidated structures and lack child-friendly sanitary and water facilities and few trained caregivers,” he said.
Malisita said only half of the 30,000 caregivers who provide these services in CBCCs are trained.
“Most government ministries do not have structures for ECD and some are unable to pinpoint how much of their budget is spent on ECD. The 2014/15 budgetary provision of MK519.9 million ($) for child services in the Ministry of Gender, Children and Community Development is a far cry from the K20 billion ($) required a year in the National ECD Strategic Plan,” the statement reads.
He added that the programme is also affected by reliance on volunteer caregivers who usually dropout due to fatigue and burn out.
With only 40 percent of children aged between 3-5 years enrolled in a service providing early childhood development, Malisita said the remaining 60 percent of children aged 3 to 5 years are missing out on emotional, mental and cognitive stimulation, leading to delayed brain development.
Malisita added that failure to make the right investment choices in
favour of ECD results into 20 percent deficit in adult income
associated with stunting and poverty, low productivity in the
workplace and an increase in school repetition rates and drop-outs.
Speaking in Blantyre recently during a workshop aimed at reviewing and validating the draft ECD capacity building strategy, under-secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Austine Luhanga said the ministry wishes to strengthen its services at all levels so that ECD services provided are of high quality.
“The provision of high quality ECD services, however, cannot be
achieved overnight; it requires guidance which can only be sought
through the development of a comprehensive capacity building strategy like the one we are going to review here,” said Luhanga.