The RNPE Rec 7 had outlined provision of a pre-primary programme to run for at least two years prior to commencement of a formal primary education. This was to be provided by the Ministry of Basic Education in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD). This collaboration continues to incrementally roll out pre-primary education in primary schools. Further assistance was got from the Embassy of Japan and there has been a significant contribution in the support of provision of Early Childhood Education.
Some districts have already benefited from the support in the construction of the pre-schools. The schools that have been supported are in remote places as per the terms of the support and did not have any surplus classrooms to cater for the pre-school programme.
The digital era has also brought with it a much competitive environment for children to deal with. Therefore as policies continue to be revised like the revised Policy on Education and the world commitments to education changed like the Jontiem Conference on Education, requirements on provision of education changed. The entry age at primary has also been reduced because child development research revealed the benefits of starting school early. As a result policies continued to lower entry ages into school, to help children start school early.
It has been found necessary to introduce the programme in the face of challenges that children are going through in their learning. In the past challenges were not so severe because learners started schooling much later and managed to cope with schooling because they were mature.
The first five years of a child are said to be the most critical in the process of learning and developing. The brain development is undergoing synapses connections through stimulation, which if lost results in disconnected layout. This results in the standard one teacher to battle with this process to correct the problem. As a result the child takes longer to effectively learn. Early stimulation includes learning activities that a child can be taken through in an enjoyable play environment directed by a qualified adult who carefully plans the activities. Such activities are meant to prepare a child into their adult stage to be able to resolve challenges. This sets the base of brain connections for future learning. The foundation plays a critical role in the child’s future learning and adult life as this includes development of social life skills and this is an opportunity to prepare them for the future as aspired in 2016 pillar of an educated and informed nation
The main goal of the programme is to create an environment for provision of early childhood education in the country as an intervention for provision of the pre-primary education programme in the education mainstream. The programme is conducted through some waived conditions without compromising the children’s health, safety and their development while promoting their early stimulation and learning.
• to set future foundation for provision of pre-primary education
• to create an environment where all stakeholders may also experiment their roles and learn
• to provide children with opportunity to improve their performance
• to prepare children for school readiness
Provision of all levels of Early Childhood Education has predominantly been in the private and voluntary hands. However in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) the Ministry continues to incrementally roll out pre-primary education in primary schools. This year (2020) 30 more pre-primary schools will be established. Currently Early Childhood has been rolled out to 597 out of the 755 primary schools translating to 79% school uptake. This roll out will continue until all the primary schools are covered. The Presidential Commission on Education of 1993 succumbed to the general society demand for government to provide the pre-primary education programme. The pre-schools continued to grow and enrolments increased, but access was still limited only to children whose parents afforded the exorbitant fees demanded by the providers.
The programme outline herein covers all conditions set for schools to comply with for effective delivery of the programme.
Schools shall create space for a sick bay for holding children in need while awaiting medical attention or collection by a parent/guardian. The space shall also be equipped with a first aid kit to be used where there is need. Schools shall also collaborate with the nearest health facility for children to be regularly checked and their environments inspected for promotion of the school health programme and continuation of their under-five Health Programme in collaboration with parents. Children shall not be corporally punished but shall be guided in a way to promote their positive development and behaviour
The schools use the officially approved curriculum from the Department of Curriculum Development and Evaluation which will provide guide of content on what children should be taught. The following shall be part of the content to be included:
• Physical, Creative and Aesthetic Development
• Language Development and Early Literacy
• Health Nutrition and Safety
• Moral and Spiritual Development
• Personal, Emotional and Social Development
• Mathematical and Scientific Thinking
The guide shall further include all assessment protocol for the children as well as related prescribed list of materials required to be used in the implementation of the curriculum. The prescribed material shall be categorised such that it provides guidance in procurement to the supplying Ministry of Local Government for both indoor and outdoor materials.
The assessment shall be more developmental to establish children’s progress in their learning which would include some observations. Schools use the prescribed format in the curriculum framework using the attached forms.
There is a ratio of thirty children to a teacher with an assistant per class (1:30). The enrolments have to correspond with the available classrooms to be used as well as related resources like toilets and play space. An extension of five extra spaces is made available for in-transfers which should later on balance with the limit number for standard one classes
Teachers are a key to the effective development and delivery of any quality education system. The qualification of the teacher and the teacher aide is one of the most critical elements of a quality early childhood program. Teachers are required to have a minimum of Diploma qualification in Early Childhood Education or Infant Education or Lower primary Education training.