To­wards qual­ity ECCD

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

The fa­cil­i­ta­tors at the Early Child­hood Care and De­vel­op­ment (ECCD) had no job sta­tus till now and they were nei­ther on con­tract nor on reg­u­lar. They were not hav­ing any en­ti­tle­ment ben­e­fit till now.

Dur­ing the re­cent ECCD week held in Thim­phu the ques­tion of their em­ploy­ment sta­tus and their en­ti­tle­ment was raised to the of­fi­cials of the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion. The Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials en­sured the ECCD fa­cil­i­ta­tors that the min­istry had been in dis­cus­sion with the Royal Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (RCSC) for the en­ti­tle­ment and other ben­e­fi­cia­ries for ECCD fa­cil­i­ta­tors.

The of­fi­cial in­formed that RCSC had ac­cepted their re­quest to reg­u­lar­ize them and the en­ti­tle­ment and ben­e­fits will fol­low au­to­mat­i­cally.

Fur­ther the ques­tion of ma­ter­nity leave was also raised, for them as only 45 days of ma­ter­nity leave is granted to them now.

The Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion while vis­it­ing schools around the coun­try had a chance to visit ECCD cen­tre and found out the chal­lenges faced by the fa­cil­i­ta­tors.

The Min­is­ter said that the gov­ern­ment is in dis­cus­sion with the RCSC for the en­ti­tle­ment. But for the ma­ter­nity leave, it’s been prac­ticed as that of civil ser­vant and was hope­ful that the fa­cil­i­ta­tors will also get same du­ra­tion of ma­ter­nity leave like that of civil ser­vants.

While Bhutan has made rapid and sub­stan­tial progress in pro­vid­ing qual­ity health care and ed­u­ca­tion to chil­dren younger than eight years of age, there is more that needs to be done, par­tic­u­larly in strength­en­ing pro­grammes for early child­hood in an in­te­grated man­ner with ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion and con­tri­bu­tions by all rel­e­vant sec­tors.

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion has been in­vest­ing on qual­ity ECCD not only yields sav­ings but very high long-term re­sults. It re­sults in im­proved school readi­ness, which in turn leads to re­duced grade rep­e­ti­tion and drop-out rates, and bet­ter ed­u­ca­tional achieve­ment.

Such en­hanced learn­ing out­comes lead to in­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity and em­ploy­ment, which in turn means higher tax returns. Early in­ter­ven­tion and preven­tion lead to im­proved health and well­be­ing, which means en­hanced pro­duc­tiv­ity and re­duced cost on health care.

Qual­ity ECCD means less un­em­ploy­ment, less crime, fewer im­pris­on­ments, re­duced de­pen­dence on wel­fare, and there­fore, re­duced so­cial costs, stated the press re­lease.

For the first time in the history of global de­vel­op­ment plan­ning, the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs) have placed ECCD on the global de­vel­op­ment agenda. One of the SDG Tar­get stated that “By 2030 all girls and boys will have ac­cess to qual­ity early child­hood de­vel­op­ment, care, and pre-pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion so that they are ready for pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion.

As our ECCD fa­cil­i­ta­tors plays an im­por­tant role in shap­ing the fu­ture of our child we must en­sure that they are paid well for it will have a huge im­pli­ca­tion in the life of ev­ery Bhutanese child.

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