Mmegi Online :: All are created equal, but..
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Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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All are created equal, but..

At birth, all children are equal. But subsequently, a cocktail of factors ranging from social and economic to political and even geographic, play an important role on how successful each child will be.
By Mmegi Editor Wed 03 Dec 2014, 11:16 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: All are created equal, but..








A critical building block for this success is the provision of Early Childhood Development (ECD), which involves pre-primary education mainly in the form of a nursery/kindergarten.

Yesterday, an ECD conference in Gaborone heard that only 22 percent of children under the age of six in Botswana have access to this crucial building block. Nursery or kindergarten education is a springboard to Standard One and accelerated achievements throughout the various tiers of the learning experience to employment or self-employment.

Children who benefit from ECD are equipped with life skills such as teamwork, tasking and greater emotional intelligence.

However, according to researchers, ECD in Botswana remains the preserve of affluent urban dwellers’ children. But no matter how far apart they are, the early childhood paths taken by the rural or poorer children and their wealthier peers often converge at the universities and other similar institutions, where the contrast in experience comes shining through.

For example, first year students from poor and/or rural backgrounds without the benefit of ECD are often shocked to discover just how intellectually superior their biological peers are, when they first mingle at the University.

The historical disadvantage is carried through and the children who had the benefit of ECD lead the stampede for employment and other opportunities. Government has long recognised that the ECD situation violates the constitutional principle guaranteeing equality to all citizens of Botswana. In fact, about 22 years ago, the Kedikilwe Commission acknowledged the critical need for ECD.

Yesterday, the former Vice President was quoted as saying: “As long as the vast majority of our children are excluded

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from ECD programmes, as a country, we will continue to have most children from poor and low income families lagging behind in terms of various aspects of their development”.

In this light, government is sponsoring a pilot pre-primary school project which currently has 115 schools participating and to some extent, giving more young Batswana, a fighting chance for the future. In this light, Botswana may be one of the few countries in Africa whose government is sponsoring pre-primary education. In other African countries, this area is left to the private sector, missionaries and civil society.

We thus commend the initiative, regardless of the time lag, and urge the Education Ministry to speedily engage with other economic actors to make it a success.

We remind all stakeholders and potential partners to be mindful of the reduced dropout and repetition rates, improved school achievements, greater adult productivity and other benefits that Botswana will reap from the investment in ECD.

                                                                      Today's thought

                                                "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest"

                                                                   - Benjamin Franklin

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