Education minister Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that there are plans to establish an Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) in every chiwog.

At the National Assembly’s question hour session yesterday, North Thimphu MP, Tshering asked the education minister about plans of establishing ECCD centres in rural areas, as there were enough centres in urban areas. 

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that brain development is considered to be most active and crucial from the time the baby is conceived to when the child is about nine years old. “When the brain is being developed, it is important to provide better foundation of education and learning to children. ECCD centres provide programmes that are in line with creating better foundation for children.” 

As ECCD caters to children, who are two to five years old, he said it was found that there was difference in children between those who attended ECCD centres and those who didn’t.

He said that the coverage of ECCD for children between ages three and five is at 21 percent. “The Prime Minister supports the establishment of centres to increase the coverage. In the next five years, we hope that ECCD service coverage to children would be increased to about 55 percent.”

He said that the 12th Plan incorporates the establishment of ECCD centres in every chiwog, which would help parents in both rural and urban areas, adding that there would be wider coverage of service reach, he said.

Currently, there are about 307 ECCD centres in the country. 

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that ECCD centres would also require instructors to provide quality service. “To motivate and to create an enabling environment for instructors we are working on ways to increase the salary with the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC).”

He said that the education ministry is aware that the monthly salary of Nu 8,000 do not match with the work they do. “The employment status is also on contract which deprives them of the other allowances and benefits when they resign,” he said.

He said that the education ministry is also working with RCSC on changing their employment status to regular contract. There are about 672 ECCD instructors in the country. 

Rinchen Zangmo