ECD programme fails to attract children

Kathmandu, May 26

Around 15 community schools running early childhood development programme in Suryabinayak and Changunarayan municipalities hardly have two students each enrolled for the programme.

Officials of the municipalities have stated that there are 10 schools in each municipality that are running ECD classes with 10 or more students. Most of the schools have less than eight students enrolled for  ECD programme. There are 40 community schools in Suryabinayak Municipality and 39 community schools in Changunarayan Municipality.

As per the Education Act, community schools need to run ECD classes for students between the ages of two-and-a-half years and four years. Each school in the two municipalities has employed at least one to two teachers and a couple of teaching assistants for the ECD programme.

According to Deputy Mayor of Suryabinayak Municipality JunaBasnet, “As many as 10 ECD classes in our municipality are running with no student or maximum two students. In most of the schools, there are five to seven students, while hardly 10 schools are successfully running classes.”

Changunarayan Municipality Mayor Som Mishra said, “We have found that normally secondary schools which are popular in the community are seen successfully running ECD programme, while schools that run classes from Grade I to V have attracted fewer students.”Mishrasaid  at a time when getting students for higher classes had become a difficult task in community schools, attracting children to ECD programme was a big challenge.

Deputy Mayor Basnet said, “We need a lot of time and resources to attract children to ECD programme, especially since the private schools are offering Montessori-based education.”

Curriculum Development Centre is planning to introduce a one-year course for ECD this year.  Private schools are providing at least three-year courses — nursery, LKG and UKG — before  Grade one.  With the difference in education system in community and private schools, it is unlikely that parents will send their kids to community schools.