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Milenge early childhood education implementation slow

CHARLES CHISALA, Milenge
THE implementation of early childhood education at Kafwanka Primary School in Milenge district, Luapula Province, is moving at a slow pace as most parents are struggling to pay the minimal user fee the institution is charging.
Deputy head teacher Baron Tembo said in an interview at Kafwanka village recently that the school has managed to enrol only 25 children in the pre-grade class because many parents are either unable or unwilling to pay a K20 fee per term.
“We only have 25 children in the pre-grade class. We expected a higher number because the community surrounding the school is quite big, but it is a struggle for many parents to pay the K20 we are levying per child,” Mr Tembo said.
He said the school is currently sensitising parents in the area on the need to prioritise education of their children.
“They feel K20 is too difficult for them to raise. As you can see, this is a rural area with a poor community and just raising K20 can really be a challenge for some parents,” he said.
Mr Tembo is, however, hopeful that the number of children in the early childhood education stream will increase as people get to understand its benefits.
He said some parents feel it is better to spend money on older children in primary school as they do not understand the objective of early childhood education.
“But we are confident that we will have more children in the pre-grade class next year as the concept sinks in among the local parents. You know it is a new phenomenon to them and they need a bit more time,” Mr Tembo said.
He said the school is levying the parents K20 to help meet administrative costs such as looking after the assistant teacher, a school-leaver, and procuring additional teaching materials and aids.
The school, which is on the Samfya-Serenje road, has 559 pupils.

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