Stakeholders Vouch for Increased Domestic Funding for ECD in SADC Countries
The Network of Early Childhood Development of Lesotho (NECDOL), the ECD Coalition of Malawi (ECDC Malawi) and ECD stakeholders through the transnational advocacy capacity building project (TRANAC) have lobbied members of parliament in SADC Region to push for increase in allocations to early childhood development (ECD) to enable children realise their full potential.
The call was made Tuesday during a Transnational SADC Parliamentary Forum meeting in Harare Zimbwabwe that was attended physically and virtually.
The meeting drew participants from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, among others
In his presentation, Pepukai Chivore, a Budget Director in Zimbabwe expressed worry that ECD is underfunded citing t figures from most countries that indicate that the sector receives as low as 1 percent of the total national budget.
He said this affect access to ECD in this region which is hovering below 50 percent of children.
Chivore also expressed worry that a huge chunk of funding towards ECD is sourced externally which also affect development of ECD in SADC member countries
Back in Malawi, Early Childhood Development Coalition ECDC also expressed worry that inadequate funding towards Early Childhood Development (ECD) requesting the government to commit the required 20 percent of the education budget towards those programmes.
ECDC National Coordinator Joylet Genda told Zodiak Online that increased funding in ECD would help improve children’s access to ECD facilities and services hence increasing the number of pre-primary classes across the country.
Genda expressed worry that only 47 percent of children in the country access ECD while less than 1 percent of the total budget is allocated to ECD against the need of 5 percent of national total budget.
Meanwhile, one of the members of parliament from Parliamentary Education Committee of Parliament that attended the summit, Mavuto Sandram Scot said the meeting was an eye opener as they push for increase for budget increase in
At the moment, Malawi has about 60, 000 caregivers of which only 2, 000 have been enrolled on government payroll.
The Malawi Education Statistics Report by the Ministry of Education indicate that access to the early child development stood at 31 percent in 2022 meaning that 69 percent of the ECD going population were not accessing early childhood education.
However enrollment in ECD slightly increased with the 2022 ASC collected data from the districts on the number of children enrolled in ECD centers across the country indicating that the number increased from 409,000 in 2020 to 524,893 in the year 2022 representing a 28 percent increase.