When Krishna Maya Saru sent her eldest daughter to school, the child was nine years old. There was no school in the locality then and she could not afford to send the child to schools far from her home.

Today, fifteen years later, Krishna Maya’s youngest child is four and half years and she goes to an early childcare and development centre (ECCD) in Zomlingthang, popularly known as Changchey, of Gosarling gewog.

The ECCD is about 10 minutes walk away from Krishna Maya’s home.

She said that when she heard the dzongkhag’s plan to establish an ECCD in the village, she immediately decided to enrol her son. “My other four kids never got an opportunity to go to an ECCD at an early age.”

For the farmer, getting her son enrolled in the ECCD has a lot of advantages. “Besides lessons my son will learn at the ECCD, I will get more time to work in the farm.”

Another villager, Mon Maya, said she was happy when she learnt about the decision to open an ECCD. “I immediately decided to enroll my three-year and four months-old son.

Mon Maya has a three-month-old daughter too. “This ECCD is a blessing,” she said. “My son will spend his day fruitfully here and I’ll get enough time for household chores.”

Tsirang dzongkhag administration opened the new ECCD in Zomlingthang on August 3.

The ECCD has an initial enrollment of 32 children aged between three to five years. Almost all the children’s parents are farmers.

Tsirang dzongdag Ngawang Pem, at the opening of the ECCD, highlighted the importance of enrolling children above three years in an ECCD.

She told parents that the education ministry encourages children above three years to be enrolled in ECCDs. “The ministry has a policy to establish ECCDs in each chiwog in the future.”

Ngawang Pem also said that the children would be the ones to serve the Gyalsey in future and the parents should also play equal responsibility to groom the children to serve the country in their best capacity. “We all should come together to groom and care for our children to make them  responsible citizens.”

She, however, cautioned the public not to enrol their children because they do not have anyone to look after at home but because of the development advantages of enrolling in an ECCD.

There are about 145 children enrolled in the six ECCDs in Tsirang.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang