LINDA NYONDO, Lusaka
FIRST Lady Esther Lungu says investment in early childhood education is essential to moulding children’s personalities and economic development of the country.
Speaking at the launch of early childhood education materials in Lusaka yesterday, where she was crowned matron of early childhood education, Mrs Lungu said research has proven that pupils who were enrolled in schools at a tender age develop well.
“The value of a well-planned early childhood education national programme enhances physiological, social, physical, spiritual and moral development of children,” she said.
Mrs Lungu said stakeholders such as families, communities, and faith-based organisations, should be involved in recognising, championing, and supporting the provision of early childhood in Zambia.
She said providing quality education beginning in the early stages of development in life serves as a critical equaliser.
Mrs Lungu said early childhood education helps to bridge the gaps between the rich and the poor, and also enhances education outcomes and accounts for quality living in adult life.
She commended the Ministry of General Education for standardising the early childhood education training programme.
The Ministry of General Education has also developed a national early childhood education system syllabus and early childhood education assessment tools which are among teaching materials.
Mrs Lungu thanked the Ministry of General Education for bestowing her with the honour of early childhood education matron in Zambia.
“The role of the country matron is that of lifting the equity banner in ensuring that early childhood education services are provided to every child in the country. I pledge to do my best,” she said.
And Minister of General Education Dennis Wanchinga said Government has established 3,367 early childhood centres countrywide.
He said most of the centres are in rural and far-to-reach areas in the country.
And speaking at the same function, UNICEF deputy country representative Shadrack Omol said early childhood investment is important, especially in the first 1,000 days.