Till now, the facilitator of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) had no job status. Neither are they appointed on contract or on regular basis. They are not eligible for entitlement as of now.
The ECCD facilitator from Bumthang Dzongkhag Karma Dema raised this question for having any plan for them to recruit on regular basis in future to education ministry during the closing of national ECCD week last Friday.
In response to the question, Karma Yeshey, the Secretary of Ministry of Education said that the ministry had been in discussion with the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) for their entitlements and other benefits.
The Secretary added that RCSC had accepted their request to regularize them. After that, they will be getting all the entitlement accordingly.
She also rose on the maternity leave for them as of now they get 45-day of maternity leave.
The minister for education Norbu Wangchuk said that while visiting school around the country he had a chance to visit ECCD centre and found out the challenges faced by the facilitator. “The job of a facilitator is not a cup of tea.”
He said that the government is in discussion with the RCSC for the entitlement. But for the maternity leave, it’s been practiced as the civil servant.
“Hope that facilitators will also get same duration of maternity leave,” Lyonpo added.
Meanwhile, the ECCD Week is organized to highlight that early childhood care and development as a shared responsibility. Addressing all of children’s needs, entail ensuring appropriate nutrition, health care, protection, and social, emotional, and intellectual stimulation.
Care, stimulation, and protection in early childhood lay the foundation for life-long growth and development. Recognizing this, the National Assembly Speaker Jigme Zangpo during the opening of the ECCD week last Monday said that the government is committed to supporting and promoting access and quality of ECCD programmes and services.
While Bhutan has made rapid and substantial progress in providing quality health care and education to children younger than eight years of age, there is more that needs to be done, particularly in strengthening programmes for early childhood in an integrated manner with active participation and contributions by all relevant sectors.
The Speaker stressed that early childhood care and development programmes and services “maximize positive developmental potentials of children that would bring lasting benefits to both individuals and society” and “contribute to enhancing Gross National Happiness.”Considering the complexity and the multidimensional nature of care and development in early childhood, he called on “all stakeholders and service providers to work together and build partnerships with each other to maximize the impact.”
According to the press release from the ministry of education, investing on quality ECCD not only yields savings but very high long-term results. It results in improved school readiness, which in turn leads to reduced grade repetition and drop-out rates, and better educational achievement.
Such enhanced learning outcomes lead to increased productivity and employment, which in turn means higher tax returns. Early intervention and prevention lead to improved health and wellbeing, which means enhanced productivity and reduced cost on health care.
Quality ECCD means less unemployment, less crime, fewer imprisonments, reduced dependence on welfare, and therefore, reduced social costs, stated the press release.
For the first time in the history of global development planning, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have placed ECCD on the global development agenda. One of the SDG Target stated that “By 2030 all girls and boys will have access to quality early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.”