Tamale, Dec 16, GNA – The Department of Children of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has held a consultative workshop for children to seek their inputs towards the review of the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Policy to better address their needs.
Several children selected from some basic schools in the Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West Regions attended the two-day Northern Zone Children’s Consultative Workshop on review of the ECCD Policy, which ended in Tamale on Wednesday.
The workshop was organised in partnership with Children Believe, an international non-governmental organization, working to empower children in the country.
Mrs Pearl Peters, Principal Programme Officer-in-charge of ECCD, Department of Children, MoGCSP, who spoke about the rationale for the review of the ECCD Policy during the workshop, said it was to help to adequately address early childhood issues in the country.
The current ECCD Policy was developed in 2004. At that time, it was realised that the needs of the very young children were not adequately met by the provisions that had been made for all children as well as the need to promote an integrated approach to programming for children in their early years.
So, the policy came in at that time to address those issues and it also provided the framework to guide all stakeholders implementing ECCD programmes as well as allow others, who wanted to invest in EECD, to be guided by the policy.
Mrs Peters said, “Now, this policy has served for more than a decade and particularly the target. The timeframe for the target has all elapsed and there have been many developments in the ECCD sector internationally and nationally that should be incorporated into the policy.”
She added that “So, at this particular point, the policy does not have what it takes to address ECCD issues in the country adequately, and there is the need to develop a new one that will be comprehensive enough to look at all the new developments and address the gaps identified in implementing the old policy.”
She said similar consultative workshops would be held for children in the middle and southern sectors of the country, adding other relevant stakeholders would also be consulted to come out with a comprehensive policy that would adequately address ECCD issues in the country.
She was hopeful that the new policy would be ready by the middle of next year.
Mrs Peters said, “We are working for the best interest of children. We want to ensure that every child has a good childhood experience and they get a solid foundation that will promote their later functioning and development in life.”
She advised children to take responsibility and work towards their development.
Akongbabre Jennifer Ayaaba, a student from Nustrat Jahan Ahmadiyya Junior High School (JHS), Tamale, called for an end to caning in school because it distracted children and did not help them to learn well.
She also called for well-equipped education facilities in all communities to ensure that children did not have to walk long distances to access education.
Nasiha Imoro, a student from Happy Child Academy, Nalerigu in the North East Region, emphasised the need for the involvement of children in decisions, regarding their welfare, adding they should also be empowered to speak their minds to voice out their concerns.
Abdulai Abubakar, a student from Kanvili R/C JHS, Tamale, emphasised the need to equip basic schools with ICT and science laboratories to improve teaching and learning for children.
Mrs Esenam Kavi De Souza, the Country Manager of Children Believe, said, “We at Children Believe, believe that children have a voice and should be given the platform to contribute to decisions that affect them and this is one of those key opportunities hence our support for the organisation of the workshop.”
She was hopeful that the views expressed by the children during the workshop would be considered in the development of policy to better serve them.
Source: Ghana News Agency