Committee suggests nursery to be part of basic education

The Eastern Regional Multi Sectorial Committee on Child Protection (ERMSCCP) has appealed to the government to include nursery in the basic education policy to ensure access and good foundation for all children.

According to the committee, many children of school going age between the ages of three and five were not in school because of lack of either a school in their community or affordability of the private nurseries.

Mr Anthony Dontoh, the Regional Director of the Department of Children under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said per the 2010 census report, the population of children under five stood at 358,194 and only 126,296 are enrolled in the kindergarten in the Eastern Region.

This means, over 228,815 children under five years, representing 63.9 per cent are not in school in the Eastern Region and called on all stakeholders to be interested in the welfare of children particularly their education.

He was speaking at a meeting of the ERMSCCP at Koforidua which was attended by representatives of stakeholders on child protection in the Region.

Mr Dontoh said the study showed that many parents could not afford to send their children to nursery schools at age two which are all privately owned and even where the parents could afford some of the kindergartens are so far away from the communities that children under five could not trek to the schools.

He said the findings also showed that children who had access to nursery schools at early stages of their life were motivated to go to school and stay in school through the basic education and therefore it was important to make nursery school part of the basic education.

Again, he said, studies showed that children who began school from the nursery at age two performed better as they progressed than their counterparts who start from kindergarten at age five or even six years.

Nana Kwame Oppong Owusu, chief of Jumapo and representative of the New Juaben Traditional Council who chaired the meeting, said it was high time nursery was included in the basic educational policy to ensure a good foundation for all children and not a select few whose parents could afford.

He said the state could not afford to leave such an important part of the education system wholly in the hands of the private sector and called on the government to review the policy and invest in nursery education.

GNA

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