Child Development Centers in dire need of motivation
KATHMANDU, Oct 29: Child development experts say that to increase the effectiveness of the preliminary child development center, the government should increase the facilitators’ monthly salaries.
Agatha Thapa, Founder of Seto Gurans National Child Development Services, says that the minimal salary received by the facilitators result in them being unhappy and this affects their work in the child development center.
Child development’s women facilitators’ work for Rs 1, 800 to Rs 2,400 a month, informs Thapa, making it clear that if their salaries are not increased the effectiveness in the field of child development will be hard to boost.
According to Thapa, who has worked for three decades in the field of preliminary child development, even though four ministries are working towards child development at present, the imperfect management has rendered the child development centers ineffective.
At present, in the children’s sector, the Ministry of Education is focusing on the education development sector, the Ministry of Health on areas related to nutrition, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare on child rights and child protection and the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development on child development. These ministries are providing grants in their respective focus areas.
“The four ministries are working on different aspects of child development. Yet, the amount spent hasn’t been able to reach the desired place,” states Thapa, adding, “Children aged three and four are in the child development center. The program hasn’t reached them.”
She adds, “I find that the facilitators are miserable and hence they do not have the inclination to work.”
Children line up for dinner at the Child Protection Center in Maiti Nepal in Gausala, Kathmandu.
Narmaya Thapa, Coordinator of Child Development Center at Save the Children, points out that due to the facilitators’ lack of training, they tend to focus on a child’s development more by steering it towards education than learning which has resulted in an ineffective program.
In the area of child development, Save the Children has cooperated with the government of Nepal and is running a program on parenting education and an all round development program in 20 districts. “An all round development is the main concept of child development,” shares Narmaya, “But the lack of training in the child development centers’ facilitators have made them put more pressure than usual on the children.”
Last month, in the office of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare with the four ministries’ involvement and with Lila Mani Poudel, Chief Secretary, presiding over the program, a policy level and subject related workshop was organized for the preliminary child development.
According to the aim of the government’s Education for All National Plan of Action (2001-2015), 11 years ago the concept of child development center was implemented for the all round development of children.
The government started preliminary child development centers with the intention of gradually getting children physically, mentally, emotionally and socially ready before they joined school.
Though, internationally the age for preliminary child development is considered from age 0 till eight years, in context to Nepal only children aged three and four years old are considered in the age for preliminary child development, states the education department.
The statistics provided by the Education Department states that there are, at present, 33,904 child development centers in operation where 4,631 are run privately and 29,273 are community based.
Till now, there have been 10, 56,430 children between the ages of three and four admitted in these child development centers.
Of those admitted, Dalits make up 1, 83,310 and Janajatis 3, 84,186. 54.30% children have studied in class one in child development centers, says the department’s Executive Director, Mahashram Sharma.