Chencho Dema | Punakha   

More than years ago, Punakha dzongkhag requested for deployment of facilitators at Punakha’s Early Childhood Care and Development Centres to the previous Ministry of Education.

The dzongkhag is also awaiting approval to open ECCD centres in Toeb, Guma, Talo, and Limbhukha gewogs.

Ten of Punakha’s 19 community ECCD centres are awaiting Royal Civil Service Commission’s approval to recruit the facilitators. The construction of the centres was completed in 2020.

The new community ECCD centres are situated in Talo, Napchi in Limbhukha Gewog, and Tahoogang, Lumetsawa, and Mendrelgang in Toeb Gewog.

Guma gewog’s Wolakha, Gumakha, Logodama, Zomglingthang, and Lhakhu have a centre each. The previous education ministry provided Nu 0.5 Million for each centre’s construction.

Punakha has 19 community ECCDs along with three private ECCDs and 26 facilitators.

A Non-Formal Education instructor has offered to serve as a facilitator while the hiring process is underway for the ECCD in Dochhukha-Dzomlingthang-Ritsa Chiwog, Guma Gewog. The centre enrolled more than 20 children when it was opened on April 3.

With the exception of Tahoogang, which is supported by YDF, the construction of new ECCDs is done in collaboration between the gewogs and the education ministry at the cost of more than Nu 1 million.

Deputy chief education officer Rinchen Samdrup said, “To ensure that all children have access to high-quality early childhood facilities, the centres are expanding access to ECCD services, especially in rural areas.”

He said that the dzongkhag could emphasise the importance of parental involvement in early childhood care and development and provide resources and support for parents to engage in their children’s learning positively.

“Overall, the future plans for the ECCD programme under Punakha dzongkhag will likely prioritise expanding access to quality early childhood programmes,” he said.

He added that although the request for the facilitators’ recruitment was made in 2019, the subsequent pandemic outbreak is blamed for the delay.