Government says it remains committed to ensuring that every child regardless of where they live, gets an opportunity to go through Early Childhood Education, which is in line with UPND Manifesto.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Education Douglas Siakalima during the close out ceremony of the early childhood education project in Lusaka, Ministry permanent secretary Joel Kamoko said Education is the most effective vehicle through which children from poor families could drive themselves out of poverty.
Mr. Kamoko stated that education is also linked to economic growth, including improved health, enhanced civic engagement and greater life satisfaction.
The permanent secretary revealed that children that have passed through ECE are most likely to perform better in schools unlike those that have not and that some drop out of school, which is why ECE should be encouraged at all times to alleviate poverty in the country.
Mr. Kamoko added that, it is for this reason that government has continued to budget for the recruitment of teachers to deployed in various ECE centers across the country in a bid to stunting and improve health and developmental outcomes for children
“Though government has started making strides in transforming the education sector, the support of the private sector and other partners cannot be over emphasized as this is an enormous task that requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders, “he said.
And Childfund Zambia Country Director Simba Machingaidze said the project was aimed at fostering hope, nurturing dreams and empowering individuals and communities to rise above challenges as well as making a difference in the lives of those who needed it most.
Mr. Machingaidze stated that the project also responds to the efforts made by the government in ensuring that every child has access to early education which is the foundation for lifelong learning.
“Specifically, the project focused on delivering parenting education through both home visits and group sessions. these programs have helped to enhance care-giver child interactions which have lasting benefits for children”, he said.
The Country Director said Over the course of this project, childfund Zambia has spent over $ 4,196,868 and has witnessed profound transformations from the caregivers who are now equipped with positive parenting skills that enable them closely interact with their children, strengthened community bonds and relationships and increased involvement of men in parenting which in the past was left to women alone among others.
“As you have heard from the testimonies of our beneficiaries, the impact of this project extends far beyond statistics and numbers, it resides in the stories of the people whose lives have been changed forever”, he added.
Mr. Machingaize is confident that the sustainability strategies the organization has handed over to the government and put in place will make it possible for more of the communities to continue benefiting from this project.
The Early Childhood Education project is funded by the Conrad Hilton Foundation.