18.05.2005 General News

Early Childhood goes into primary school system

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Accra, May 18, GNA - Ms Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State for Education and Sports, in Charge of Tertiary Education, on Wednesday said plans were far advanced to mainstream Early Childhood Development (ECD) into the Primary School System, to ensure a continuous basic education in the country.

She explained that comprehensive policy document on Early Childhood Care and Development had been developed and launched, while a curriculum for kindergarten had also been prepared to see to the smooth take-off of the ECD programme.

Ms Ohene made this known at the press launch of the Third African International Conference on Early Childhood Development, to be hosted by Ghana from May 30 to June 3, 2005.

The conference under the theme: "Moving Early Childhood Development Forward in Africa," focuses on ensuring caring practices within the family and community, thereby ensuring equitable access and use of quality basic services, while ensuring a supportive policy environment from a global perspective.

About 37 African countries would be attending the conference, while 25 African Ministers had already confirmed their participation in the Technical and Ministerial Sessions.

The Minister said the conference also aimed at reminding governments on the importance of human resource development and ensuring that ECD became a top priority on their political agenda.

She stated that the review of the educational reforms gave prominence to ECD in Ghana's educational system, after series of attempts to bring it into the mainstream of basic education had failed.

"The Government White Paper on the Education Reforms makes kindergarten education progressively part of the Free, Compulsory Universal Basic Education, starting from 2007," Ms Ohene said.

She said research had shown that children, who received early childhood instructions, had a head start in life, as by the time they began their primary education foundations had already been laid, which facilitated easier comprehension and absorption of new materials. The Minister, however, said though Ghana had made great strides and achievement in the area of ECD, there was the need to collaborate with other African countries to pool resources to maximize achievements. Mrs Angelina Baiden Amissah, Minister of State for Education and Sports, in charge of Training Colleges, said the Ghana Education Service was planning to use the facilities of the Teacher Training Colleges to train teachers for pre-schools.

She stated that the GES until the full the Training Colleges programme became operational, the nation would continue with the cascading method of training, where trainers were trained to go and train others at the regional and district levels.

She called on parents to support the provision of pre-school education for their children.

"Parents need to make time and show interest in teaching their children at home," she said.

She noted that the conference was an opportunity for Ghana to provide leadership, as Ghana was one of the first countries to formulate a policy on ECD.

He charged the media to promote the early childhood care and development process to ensure quality education for all. The occasion was also used to launch the logo for the conference and a website; www.ECD Africa2005, for the public to access information on the Early Childhood Development Programme.

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