In the 2018 Budget Presentation, today, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that the government was unable to support the cost of Early Childhood Development (ECD) education and that it was going to freeze the recruitment of 5 907 ECD Teachers. This means reverting back to the old system where parents and communities were responsible for Early Childhood Development (ECD) education. However, Chinamasa said that the government will supervise creches and nursery schools providing ECD Education.
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In this regard, Government will continue to complement the efforts of parents, particularly in urban areas with the major interventions being to provide the necessary guidance over ECD curriculum and teaching standards.
This will allow operations of existing former creche/nursery schools to continue providing ECD education, under the supervision of Government.
This development will, therefore, obviate the need for recruitment of an additional 5 907 teachers at Budget expense for ECD levels, consistent with His Excellency’s vision of re-orienting resources towards other development programmes in line with the ‘New Economic Order’.
Parents and communities participation in supporting the provision of ECD schooling services will save the fiscus an additional US$36 million in employment costs per annum.
This effectively reverses one of the policies of the much-maligned former Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Lazarus Dokora’s. In July this year, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango announced that starting next year, children who do not attend Early Childhood Development (ECD) classes at registered institutions will no longer be able to go for Grade One.
Be warned! Children will not proceed to grade one. They will need to go to a conventional institution and start from the beginning, at ECD like everybody else. Imagine your child at seven or eight joining four-year-olds in the ECD A class because of their parents’ decision.