Neten Dorji | Trashigang

The lone early childhood care and developed centre (ECCD) in Rangjung, Trashigang, is in need of space for children to learn and play.

The centre, located above the Rangjung town, was opened in August 2018 with initiative from parents of Rangjung.  The government supported two facilitators.

Parents say they pay more than Nu 1,000 every year for outdoor play maintenance because there is no proper lock system.

A resident, Tashi Choden, said that getting her son enrolled in the ECCD has lots of advantages.  “Besides getting time to work, my son could gain confidence.”

She said it would help if the dzongkhag could provide a separate classroom.

A facilitator, Lhamo, also agreed the space is limited. “With limited space, children do not get enough to learn and play around.”

She said the centre is in need of big space. “If the centre gets one more room, it could accommodate some more children.” It enrols 30 children through age basis every year.

Another facilitator, Chimi Wangmo said, with limited space force them to accept children on an age basis.  “Room can only accommodate 20 children, but we take 30 children.”

The ECCD committee members say they had been requesting the Shongphu gewog and dzongkhag administration to do something for the centre.

A committee member said it has been more than two years since they raised the issue but authorities have not done anything.

Meanwhile, parents say a room that was used by Merak gewog had been left unoccupied near the centre. “If Merak gewog allows the centre to use the room, our problem can be solved,” a mother said.

She said they do not understand why the centre is not provided a room that remains unoccupied.

Another parent said that Merak is now connected with the road and highlanders do not need the room.  “Merak gewog told dzongkhag tshogdu members that they need the room but they hardly used the room.”

But lack of space is not only the challenge for the centre.

A parent, Karma, said that without an attached toilet, it is not safe for children in monsoon season.

He said they are hopeful that the dzongkhag and government would solve the problem soon.  “Ministry of Education encouraged giving education at an earlier age but the problem is at ground level.”

Trashigang dzongrab gom, Wangchuk Dorji, said the dzongkhag administration did not neglect the centre. “We talked with Merak gewog but they also told us they need the space. We are hopeful that they would give it to the centre.”

He said that the dzongkhag administration also visited the ECCD centre.