Pre-primary education an equaliser
As part of government’s aim to improve the quality of education at pre-primary school level, a diploma course in Early Childhood Development and Pre-primary Education was launched this week by the Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL) and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.
The diploma programme is aimed at addressing the “critical” shortage of teachers in early childhood development and pre-primary education, which should lay a solid foundation for lower primary education. It also aims to empower teachers with employable skills. Speaking at the launch, Herold Murangi, director of NAMCOL, said that early childhood education forms an integral part of the “education for all” agenda in Namibia as it ensures an effective transition to formal education for all children.
He said that many Namibian children do not have access to early childhood programmes and that the unavailability of skilled and qualified persons to act as edu-carers for this group of children is one of the prime reasons for this lack of access.
“Early childhood education is one of the most important public options to improve equality of opportunities within a society,” said Murangi.
He said that it is therefore important that participation in pre-primary education should include children from the poorest and least educated sections of society.
Murangi said that children in less fortunate households have the lowest enrolment rate and this puts them at an early disadvantage.
Also speaking at the launch, Doreen Sioka, Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, said that Early Childhood Development and Pre-primary Education lays the foundation for acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills.
“Early childhood development and pre-primary education are widely recognised as having a significant impact on the subsequent performance of children in education programmes,” said Sioka.
Although the three-year distance education programme is only open to those who have a certificate in Early Childhood Development, interested citizens who meet requirements can also apply for this diploma course.