National meet on child development from April 22

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 18:

The first national conference of early childhood development (ECD) facilitators is going to be held from April 22-24, organisers said. The conference will promote facilitators’ active involvement in advocacy for early childhood development and child rights besides providing them practical knowledge on the ways to handle children. The Ministry of Education and Sports and Seto Gurans National Child Development Services (SGNCDS) will jointly organise the programme, which will be jointly sponsored by Unicef, Save the Children Alliance and Plan Nepal. Agatha Thapa, executive director of SGNCDS, said at a press meet that the programme aims at developing a sense of identity among the facilitators and recognise their special role in strengthening their confidence and commitment in the field. They will share their ideas and formulate strategies to solve the existing problems in the field of early childhood development. Three hundred facilitators from the community early childhood development centres will participate in the programme.

“As the facilitators play an important role, they need to be informed about policies,” said Thapa. The government has plans to establish 74,000 ECD centres by 2015. At present, more than 5,700 community-based early childhood development centres are in operation and have been receiving support from the government under BPEP II, and about 2,000 centres are

receiving support from NGOs and INGOs. According to a study conducted by Save the Children on impact on the promotion rate of children with early childhood development experience in Grade one was 83 per cent compared to 42 per cent for those without early childhood development experience. Similarly, the repetition rate of the children with ECD experience was only 6 per cent compared to 37 per cent for those without ECD, and the drop out rate for children with early childhood development experience was only 11 per cent compared to 22 per cent for those without it. Sadananda Kandel of the Plan Nepal said only 19 per cent of the total children between three to five years of age are receiving early childhood development education.