Scarcity of resources hitting ECD classes hard

Kathmandu, January 4

More than 30,000 Early Childhood Development classes run by community schools have been affected severely due to scarcity of resources.

Because of lack of resources, schools are compelled to compromise on quality of individual care and education of children aged three to four years. “There have to be at least three staff members, including a caretaker, to run a regular ECD class, but the government is only paying for one teacher,” said Sudha Adhikari, ECD in-charge of Bhagbhairab School at Kirtipur.

She also informed that the school was paying for two other staff members through donation from locals and NGOs.

Adhikari told THT that the school management did not believe that the government would help the school in any way. “The government is providing only Rs 1,000 annually for stationery materials, which is inadequate,” said Adhikari.

Schools in suburban places like Kirtipur are hit even harder by scarcity of resources. According to Adhikari, parents want ECD classes to be run in community schools, but resource limitation affects their ability to deliver quality education.

Gyanodaya Secondary School at Kalanki has 290 students enrolled in its ECD class. But only one teacher is paid by the government. “We have had to hire nine more teachers through internal resources,” Dhananjaya Sharma, former headmaster of the school, said.

Hari Lamsal, joint secretary at the Ministry of Education, said ensuring adequate number of teachers and resources to all schools was challenging, and the ministry intended to do so gradually.

He said the ministry focused on incorporating ECD classes in the school system this year, and next plans to attempt creating permanent posts for ECD teachers. He also informed that the government paid an ECD teacher Rs 6,000 per month.