By Thandiwe Garusa
ABOUT 40% of Zimbabwe’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) children are out of school due to infrastructure shortages, long distances, water, sanitation, and hygiene challenges.
Addressing delegates at a meeting on the review, reflection, and planning for ECD roadmap for SADC countries, secretary for Primary and Secondary and Education Tumisang Thabela said that regardless of the remarkable achievements made so far, there are still challenges in pre-primary learning.
“Despite all the gains we made to date, we still have 40% of our ECD children out of school (EMIS 2020 report). As the Ministry, we are prioritizing the grey areas of ECD infrastructure shortages, long traveling distances from home to school and WASH,” she said.
“Unfortunately, SADC documents and protocols on education have no mention of ECD unlike other African Blocks like the East African community,” Thabela said.
She added: “I presume that no single endeavour is polemic free, and I am sure these challenges are common in the Southern African region. I would like to appreciate that this gathering of six counties will deliberately proffer a strategy for our region that will strengthen our education foundation. Through this meeting it is my sincere hope that we will establish ways of influencing our communities and governments to prioritize ECD in the SADC policy frameworks.”
“Research has shown that good ECD programs are socially and economically sound for any country. Well-planned and effectively implemented ECD programs reduce inefficiencies such as absenteeism, dropouts, and construed performances.”