Zomba — Deputy Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Clement Mukhumbwa has called upon stakeholders in the country to invest more in Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes to reduce dropout rate in schools.
Speaking during official opening of a three week induction workshop for the regional ECD Trainers and Managers at Chancellor College in Zomba Wednesday, Mukhumbwa challenged participants to focus on resource mobilization to facilitate achievement of ECD national objectives.
"Let us develop realistic and responsive ECD plans that can help us bring more resources towards ECD services for the growth, development and survival of our children," Mukhumbwa said.
The deputy minister said government is committed to ensuring survival, holistic stimulation and development of children through approved new ECD policy whose implementation started in 2014.
He said among others, the policy advocates for provision of better services to children including those with special needs so that they continue their education up to tertiary level.
Principal for Chancellor College Professor Richard Tambulasi concurred with the deputy minister that investing in ECD is the only way forward to help children grow mentally and physically.
"This is why Chancellor College has introduced Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Development (BScEDC) to fill the capacity gaps in this field," he said adding that the programme is expected to fully roll out in January 2018.
He further said the induction course has been necessitated by the capacity needs in the early childhood development and the developments of new National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy by government.
An ECD expert in the Ministry of gender, Mary Phiri said ECD is a very crucial program because it targets young children from birth to about eight years.
Phiri said children who go through ECD programs have their brain well stimulated and developed and mostly do not repeat classes in primary school.
"Children who undergo Early Childhood Development do not repeat in primary schools because their brains are stimulated and developed," added Phiri.