Mmegi Blogs :: Importance of early years education to children
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Tuesday 26 September 2017, 06:00 am.
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Importance of early years education to children

Since attaining independence in 1966, Botswana has made significant strides in increasing access to education and this is in tandem with both the Universal Declaration of Education as a human right and the subsequent Education for All (EFA) 0f 1990.
By Master Goya Tue 05 Sep 2017, 12:00 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Importance of early years education to children








Access to education in Botswana significantly gained momentum when the country discovered diamonds at Orapa, Letlhane and later Jwaneng. Revenues from diamonds were used to build schools around the country and it suffices for me to mention that we have a school in almost all the villages in this country.

Of course credit also goes to the country’s inaugural leaders who adopted a developmental state approach leveraging on human capital development and democracy as envisaged by all constitutional democracies. Our belief as a country has always been to put people first. Over the years it has become apparent that there is a need to focus more on access to quality pre-primary education. It has been proven that once you get the foundation right, then the subsequent levels of education become easy to deal with.

Contemporary dynamics in the genre of the 21st Century human capital development calls for a fundamental reconstruction and redefining of education. We need education with a human face based on skill acquisition and self-inspiration. Globally, access to education is only regarded as such if it is access to quality education but embracing early childhood care. Thanks to our country for clearly showing the intent to address this on both the Revised National Policy on Education (RNPE 1994) and the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP) launched in 2015.

It has always been my belief and conviction that at the heart of successive levels of education, is the provision of early childhood care and development. The importance of early years to children’s education is no longer a contested terrain but rather a critical precursor heralding the beginning of a constructive human development strategy, not only in Botswana but the entire Sub-Saharan Africa if at all we want to be competitive globally. A comprehensive pedagogical inspiration during the early stages of the young ones is a pivotal foundation for future development, health and wellbeing, not only in the early years, but throughout life. Researches by different scholars and organisations converge by far and large that in the absence of early childhood at pre-primary level, teaching at primary level becomes rehabilitation, while teaching at secondary level becomes recuperation. This deficiency may escalate upward to tertiary level and may result into an education system characterised by more teaching than learning.

Against this background, it has become more

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vital than ever before to engage and implore all sectors of our society to collaboratively contribute to the development of early childhood educational provision. This does not solely entail putting up academic structures, buildings but also provision of proper care, love and developmental inspiration for our future citizens. Parents should understand that education does not start from school but rather from home and that it takes a whole community to raise a child. Early childhood education is a resource heavy national project, warranting all stakeholders to play a role however minute. Cost-benefit analysis on early childhood investment indicates that while the benefits of intervention and prevention initiatives in the early years of learners are considerable, our appreciation of the economic significance of investing in the early years, as opposed to other opportunities, is in contrast less appreciated in Africa in general. It is interesting that this dichotomy has been persisting given the complexities in which children are exposed to who are under the care of less privileged families.

I want to mention with equanimity that the combination of family and community, working in synergy towards child growth has positively determined the future of many generations in patriotic societies. We therefore need to introspect and commit to the importance of early childhood development education as individuals, communities, organisations be they be public, private and Non-governmental and to a great extent as a society. This is more so when the developing world is currently besieged by issues of child abuse including human trafficking and child labour.

I therefore urge the thinking class, different scholars, policymakers, enterprises, academics to pursue a collaborative investment towards the building of a robust education system underpinned by quality early childhood education development. Our opportunity in this subject will be based on the balance between critically outlining the problems and constructively framing the prospects associated with early childhood care and development for all children. The government has already commenced this noble investment. Ours is to amplify it through research outputs, capital investments and constructive engagements for the public good. We should all understand that when it comes to development, the government cannot solely shoulder the responsibility. The ball is therefore in everyone’s court.

*Master Goya is the Assitant Minister of Basic Education. He is writing in his personal capacity not representing the government

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Educational Issues
Tue 05 Sep 2017, 12:00 pm
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