Kathmandu, June 15
Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel today said that his ministry was preparing to bring a consolidated act that would incorporate education from the school level to university level.
Inaugurating a national conference on ‘Early Childhood Development: Towards improved school readiness, learning outcomes and overall human development,’ organised by the Ministry of Education and National ECD Council, in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund, Minister Pokharel said various issues, which were left out in the current Education (eighth amendment) Bill, would also be addressed in the new act.
“We are in a process of addressing all missing issues in the new consolidated Act,” he said. He also assured that feedback from all concerned regarding the missing points would be included in the Act.
The Education (eighth amendment) Bill has been forwarded to the President’s office for authentication. The amended bill has envisioned bringing ECD centres under school education. However, the act is silent on the management of ECD volunteers, who are working for a minimum wage of around Rs 3,000 per month.
The ECD centres have been teaching students below the age of four years to prepare them for school education. “The ECD volunteers will also be managed accordingly,” said Minister Pokharel.
Evidence shows that brain development is the most rapid in the initial years of life. Hence, proper nutrition as well as consistent loving care and encouragement to learn during this phase help children to do better at school, be healthier, have higher earnings and participate more in society, thus contributing to sustainable growth and development.
The national conference that included participation from a diverse group of stakeholders, including government officials, representatives of national and international organisations, ECD facilitators, media, teachers, parents and caregivers called for greater coordination and investment in holistic development of children aged 0-8 years.
The day-long event, which featured displays on ECD from various organisations, included several presentations and panel discussions on various aspects of ECD. Internationally renowned researcher and author Professor Frank Oberklaid from the University of Melbourne, Australia served as the key resource person.
The conference precedes the 18th Nepalese Congress of Pediatrics 2016 being held from June 16 to 18 and is part of the ECD week celebration in Nepal.
A version of this article appears in print on June 16, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.