Minister of Gender, Communty Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati has said by 2030 all primary schools should have early childhood development (ECDs)centres to achieve quality education and combat high illiteracy levels in the country.
the minister said this on Tuesday in Lilongwe during a Child Development Initiative stakeholders’ engagement.
She said: “Government envisions establishing ECDs in all the primary schools nationwide as part of the Malawi 2063, to positively improve on literacy levels and reduce school dropouts.
“Over five million people [up to] now don’t know how to read and write. These figures will scale down if we have ECD centres planted in all primary schools.
Kaliati said so far, a key partner in the programme, Roger Federer Foundation (RFF) from 2011 to April 202, has built 480 ECD centres in 10 districts in the country at a cost of $13.5 million (about K11 billion).
In her remarks RFF chief executive officer Janine Haendel said the main goal of their support is to increase access to early childhood education by reaching out to 150 000 children.
“By now we have seen 96 000 children accessing the early childhood development centres which is part of our wish to reach out to 150 000 children in the initial phase,” she said.
Haendel said when they started the programme 11 years ago, there were few ECDs centres in the country.
“But we dreamt at providing quality education in the primary schools by providing good early learning.
“We have already launched our next seven years’ plan so that we accomplish better results based on what we have experienced during the previous period,” she said.
Organised by Action Aid in partnership with the foundation, the event was held under the theme Towards Increased Access to Quality and Sustainable Early Childhood Development Services and Early Learning for all Children.