Bhutan plans for 100 percent enrollment in early childhood care by 2030

In what seems an ambitious target, the Bhutan government is aiming for 100 percent enrollment for the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) by 2030. The country, currently, has just 24 percent

Jul 06, 2021
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Bhutan

In what seems an ambitious target, the Bhutan government is aiming for 100 percent enrollment for the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) by 2030. The country, currently, has just 24 percent. 

Bhutan’s Ministry of Labor and Human Resources defines the term ‘early childhood care and education (ECCD) as a range of processes and mechanisms that sustain, support, and aid in the holistic development of children, from age 3 years to 5 years

The country’s education ministry has also set a mid-term target of 50 percent by 2030 despite its limited resource in fulfilling the ambitious aim. Lack of facilitators, the bureaucratic procedures in recruiting facilitators, lack of funds to establish ECCD centers, and professional development of ECCD facilitators are major stumbling blocks. 

There is also a scarcity of trained facilitators for the program, reported Kuensel newspaper. Many centers, established earlier, remain nonfunctional in the absence of staff. “There is no investment,” an official of the education ministry said, adding, “If there are adequate resources, we can still achieve the target.

Earlier, the government had started a two-week training program for the deployment of facilitators to address the issue. However, experts say ECCD facilitators should be qualified with at least a university degree level of education and training, given the professional demand for quality facilitators. 

Currently, there are 495 ECCD centers, with 947 facilitators, which see over 8000 children in the country. The program got an encouraging response from parents, especially in main cities where the centers received proper resources and attention. 

(SAM)